Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s son, Goh Jin Hian, has resigned as independent director of Cordlife Group mere days after the cord blood banking firm publicly backed him.
Dr Goh has been dominating headlines since it was announced that the creditors of Inter-Pacific Petroleum (IPP) were considering legal action against him for breaching the director’s duties he owed to the now shuttered oil and gas firm. Dr Goh resigned from IPP in August last year, four days after the firm filed for judicial management.
The judicial managers acting on behalf of IPP announced earlier this month that they are suing Dr Goh over losses of about S$212 million that they claim were caused by his negligence.
Three days after the legal action was announced, Cordlife Group revealed that Dr Goh has vacated his seat as its chairman in view of the IPP lawsuit. The company said that Dr Goh is stepping down “to devote more time to his personal affairs” and that its nominating committee (NC) and board found it appropriate to allow the legal proceedings to run its due course.
It said that Dr Goh will, however, be staying on at the firm as an independent director given that the NC and the board believe he “has the character and integrity suitable to continue as independent director”.
Asserting that it is in Cordlife’s best interest for Dr Goh to remain as an independent director given his qualifications, expertise and experience, the firm added that the cessation of his chairman role will allow him to give sufficient time and attention to the company’s affairs in the new role.
Ten days after it backed Dr Goh, Cordlife announced that the doctor-businessman has resigned as independent director with immediate effect on Thursday night (15 Oct).
That same day, Dr Goh also resigned as New Silkroutes Group’s chairman a mere two weeks after taking on the role amid a police probe into the mainboard-listed investment holding firm.
The police probe against NSG is unrelated to the IPP lawsuit against Dr Goh. The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) launched an investigation against NSG last month over a possible securities breach.
NSG said that it understands that the alleged offence is false trading and market rigging pursuant to Section 197 of the Securities and Futures Act in view of past share buy-backs and acquisitions of shares.
Both Dr Goh, who was NSG’s chief executive officer and executive director until he became chairman on 1 Oct, as well as NSG finance director William Teo were involved in the CAD investigation. NSG disclosed that the passports of both men were impounded by the CAD although neither person was arrested or charged.
Just two weeks ago, NSG said that it had no plans to suspend Dr Goh and Mr Teo from their duties and made special mention of Dr Goh’s contributions to the company. Dr Goh’s transition from company CEO and chairman also took place as planned despite the probe.
In Singapore Exchange filings made late on Thursday night (15 Oct), NSG revealed that both Dr Goh and Mr Teo have resigned from their posts with immediate effect. It said that Dr Goh resigned “to devote more time to his personal affairs” while Mr Teo quit “to focus on personal matters and to pursue other interests”.
Earlier on Thursday, the firm announced that its auditor Deloitte & Touche had issued a disclaimer of opinion on the financial statements of the group for the financial year that ended 30 June.
On 27 Aug, the firm reported that it has ended the fourth quarter on 30 June with a net loss of US$2.28 million compared to a profit of US$227,000 recorded in the same quarter a year ago. It reported a full-year loss of US$1.95 million from a previous loss of US$684,000.
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