SINGAPORE: In Singapore news today, amid an investigation into whether Cordlife mishandled the cord blood units of thousands of clients, several of the company’s top executives have been arrested.

Four of the individuals arrested are Cordlife directors; the fifth is Ms Tan Poh Lan, its former Group CEO.

Acting chairman Ho Choon Hou, independent directors Yeo Hwee Tiong and Titus Cheong, and non-independent, non-executive director Chow Wai Leong have been arrested. They are out on bail.

In a statement on March 22 (Friday), the company said that while Ms Thet Hnin Yi, Cordlife’s chief financial officer, has been asked to assist with investigations, she had not been charged or arrested.

Ms Poh resigned in October last year to pursue personal interests. Mr Yiu Pang Fai, who had been a director with TransGlobal Real Estate Group, was appointed as Group CEO for Cordlife last month. A 27.9 per cent stake in Cordlife is held by TransGlobal.

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Read also: Cordlife suspended after MOH found cord blood stored at suboptimal temperatures

Cordlife said in a bourse filing on March 22 (Friday) that the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force, together with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), issued a notice requiring the company to provide documents and information connected to the ongoing probe.

CAD and MAS also issued a notice for several Cordlife officers who are not based in Singapore to attend an interview on April 2 at CAD’s offices.

These are independent director Joseph Wong and non-independent, non-executive directors Zhai Lingyun, Chen Xiaoling, and Yiu Ming Yi.

Mr Wong, who served as Cordlife chairman, stepped down last month for personal reasons.

“Given that the current board has been overseeing and providing guidance on the ongoing work undertaken by the company to investigate and address the lapses identified by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in relation to the company’s Singapore operations, the majority of the board is of the view that it would be in the interests of the company for all directors to continue serving on the board,” the company said.

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It added that Zhai and Chen do not agree that all the arrested individuals should remain directors and will continue to evaluate their suitability.

Cordlife will also consider taking on new independent directors to “serve as additional checks and balances.”

At the same time, two of the company’s major shareholders, TransGlobal and Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store, which holds around 20.3 per cent of Cordlife, have called for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM). The two shareholders separately requisitioned for the removal of some of Cordlife’s directors.

On Nov 30, 2023, the Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a notice to Cordlife after several of its cord blood unit storage tanks had been exposed to temperatures above the acceptable limits of below -150 degrees Celsius. MOH told Cordlife to stop processes for up to six months.

Investigations have shown that cord blood units belonging to at least 2,150 clients had been damaged, and an additional 17,000 may also have been affected. /TISG

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Read also: Cordlife accepts suspension but will not hand in written representation of its operations to MOH