Singapore—According to court documents, Members of Parliament (MP) from opposition party The Workers’ Party (WP) Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang disagree that they are legally answerable for the losses incurred by the Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC) while under their purview, nor do they owe the AHTC a special duty of care, the Straits Times (ST) reports.
In connection with the AHTC case, last month, High Court Judge Kannan Ramesh delivered a verdict, wherein he called out Ms Lim and Mr Low for improper and dishonest conduct.
The Judge said that the WP MPs “acted dishonestly” and were “in breach of their fiduciary duties.”
According to the Judge, “Their conduct was improper and the attempt to cloak the same with a veneer of truth and credibility collectively leads to the conclusion that they had not acted honestly and therefore breached their duty of unflinching loyalty to AHTC as fiduciaries.”
However, on November 11, Ms Lim and Mr Low, together with WP Secretary-General Pritam Singh, filed a notice to appeal in the case of misuse of funds by Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC). Two Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC), Kenneth Foo Sek Guan and Chua Zhi Hon, also joined WP leaders in filing the appeal.
Ms Lim said that the court had accepted the notice to appeal.
Here are the points of contention in their appeal—that they owe fiduciary duties to the TC, are legally answerable for compensation over particular amounts paid by the TC, that they aren’t protected from personal liability under the Town Councils Act; and that they’ve breached Rule 74 of the Town Councils Financial Rules regarding tender processes.
When the hearing of their case at the Court of Appeal will be has yet to be announced.
Ms Lim and Mr Low maintain positions in the AHTC, with Mr Low being an elected member of the town council and Ms Lim its Vice-Chairperson.
The town council was found to have paid millions in improper payments under the WP MP’s oversight.
On October 11, the High Court Judge said that Ms Lim and Mr Low had placed their own political interests over the interest of their constituents when they awarded contracts to FM Solutions & Services and FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI) without calling a tender.
Between July 2011 to July 2015, AHTC had paid at least S$33.7 million to their town council managing agent FM Solutions & Services (FMSS), which was appointed without tender. Mr Low was the secretary-general of the WP at that time while Ms Lim had chaired AHTC, with Mr Pritam serving as a member of the town council’s committee for tenders and contracts.
On November 5, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat introduced a motion in Parliament calling on AHTC to require Ms Lim and Mr Low to “recuse themselves” from all financial matters related to the town council.
The motion was passed with 52 MPs supporting it, nine opposing it and two abstentions. /TISG
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