Singapore – During the oral submissions for the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) trial on April 9 (Tuesday), lawyer Davinder Singh claimed that the defendants had used the town council funds to advance their political status.
AHTC and Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC), in a long-standing trial, claim that the eight defendants from the Workers’ Party (WP) Members of Parliament Sylvia Lim, Low Thia Khiang and Pritam Singh, AHTC town councillors Chua Zhi Hon and Kenneth Foo, FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) and two of its owners, mishandled the funds and made “improper” payments amounting to more than S$33 million between 2011 and 2015.
The representative for PRPTC, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, told the court that the defendants “must account to the fullest extent required by law” the activities relating to the case “else there will be consequences.”
“What emerges is a very disturbing picture of political opportunism,” said Singh. “It is one thing to leverage on your own merits and strengths to advance your political cause. It is another to use the hard-earned monies of innocent residents to improve your political standing and to score political points.”
Singh also emphasised the domino effect of the defendants’ actions if the residents knew what was happening to their hard-earned money. If “the residents had been told of what they know today they would have stopped paying their service and conservancy charges and the system would have collapsed.”
Former author for Temasek Review, States Times Review and Singapore Herald, Alex Tan, noted that “If the Singapore government wins this lawsuit, the 3 WP MPs will be bankrupted and unseated from Parliament. This would effectively allow the ruling party PAP to take over the opposition-held Aljunied GRC without holding an election.”
The opposition politician gave his insight via a Facebook post on April 10.
Justice Kannan Ramesh reserved judgment until all sides have provided their submissions. A decision will be made at a later date.
Meanwhile, Senior Counsel Chelva Retnam Rajah who represents the three WP MPs and town councillors in the lawsuits, rejected the claims and noted that only S$15,710 of the S$33.7 million was recoverable. Lawyers for the WP MPs also said that the amount was “entirely speculative.”
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