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Goh Chok Tong’s son may be taken to court over alleged breach of duty at Inter-Pacific Petroleum

The legal action against Dr Goh Jin Hian would be for breaches of his director’s duties to act with skill, care and diligence which he owed to the company

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Judicial managers investigating shuttered Singapore bunker supplier and bunker craft operator, Inter-Pacific Petroleum (IPP), have submitted an application to the High Court asking for more time to consider whether to take former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s son, Goh Jin Hian, to court.

IPP began to go under after the crew of a vessel chartered by the firm was charged over bunkering malpractices. The crew had tampered with a mass flowmeter, illegally using magnets to increase its readings to claim that it had delivered more fuel than it was actually carrying, during bunkering operations.

The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) temporarily suspended IPP’s bunker craft operator license during investigations in June. Dr Goh, who was an IPP director at the time, called MPA’s move “premature” and asserted that the authority should have “discussed the incident with us  giving us a chance to review the facts.”

On 16 Aug, IPP and its parent company Inter-Pacific Group Pte Ltd filed for judicial management at the High Court of the Republic of Singapore and appointed Deloitte & Touche LLP as their judicial managers. Four days later, Dr Goh left IPP after having been at the firm since June 2011.

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MPA revoked IPP’s bunker craft operator license and bunker supplier license and the debt-ridden IPP went under and applied to wind up.

According to documents seen by Singapore bunker publication Manifold Times, the judicial managers (JMs) appointed by IPP believe that they have a “viable claim” against Dr Goh for “breaches of his director’s duties to act with skill, care and diligence which he owed to the Company.”

The documents stated that IPP’s two largest investors, Maybank and Societe Generale – which are owed USD 88.3 million and USD 81.3 million respectively, are willing to fund the prospective legal action against Dr Goh.

Pointing out that the JMs had been investigating IPP’s books, records and affairs since they were appointed, the document stated:

“It was following such investigations that the JMs, in consultation with their solicitors, verily believe that the Company has a viable claim against one of its former directors (specifically, one Dr Goh Jin Hian (“Dr Goh”)) for breaches of his director’s duties to act with skill, care and diligence which he owed to the Company.

“Two of the Company’s largest creditors, Malayan Banking Berhad (“Maybank”) and Societe Generale, Singapore Branch (“SocGen”) have come forth to the JMs indicating an intention to fund the prospective legal action against Dr Goh in respect of this breaches of duties.”

On 27 Aug, the JMs submitted an application to the High Court to extend the JM Order by another six months so that it can consider taking Dr Goh to court.

The JMs have asked for more time to consider whether it should take legal action against Mr Goh now or if it should place IPP in liquidation before taking any action against Dr Goh, and leave the prosecution of Dr Goh to the prospective liquidators.

Read Manifold Times’ full report and a timeline of events pertaining to the case here.

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