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“My conscience is clear” – Low Thia Khiang on WP being dragged to court by AHTC

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Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang in speaking to the media after being summoned to Court by the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council independent panel, said that his conscience was clear and that he had not personally benefitted from any lapse.

“My conscience in clear. We are acted in good faith and in the best interest of our residents.There is no dishonest intention.” – Mr Low

Mr Low who appeared with the other 2 opposition Members of Parliament being summoned – Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Pritam Singh – said that he was not concerned if they lost Aljunied GRC as a result of this debacle. He believes that the younger members of his party will come forward to serve Singaporeans if that were to happen.

FB LIVE: Workers' Party MPs Mr Low Thia Khiang, Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Pritam Singh address allegations, in a lawsuit filed by the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, that they had acted in breach of their fiduciary duties. Read more: http://bit.ly/2vZ8lZp

Posted by TODAY on Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Independent Panel was set up to investigate governance lapses and improper payments using public funds in the town council. It was appointed by the AHTC at the behest of Housing & Development Board, is seeking to claim a total of S$4,790,095.49 in court comprising S$622,593.78 in liquidated claims and S$4,167,501.71 in unliquidated claims.

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Besides the 3 MPs other defendants that have been named in the lawsuit include former WP Youth Wing executive committee member, Chua Zhi Hon; deputy organising secretary of the WP and WP candidate in Nee Soon GRC in the 2015 General Election, Kenneth Foo; owner of AHTC’s former managing agent firm FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), How Weng Fan; and FMSS.

The independent panel was set up in February 2017 after audit firm KPMG released a report last year that AHTC had put millions of dollars from public funds at risk of improper use due to governance lapses from 2011-2015. KPMG had flagged payments to the town council’s then-managing agent FMSS as ‘improper’ since the owners of FMSS held key management and financial control positions in the town council at the same time.

The KPMG report asserted that this meant that FMSS effectively approved and made payments to itself using public funds.

Ms Lim in speaking to the press today reiterated what the political party had earlier said, that they “reject these allegations against (them)”.

In a press release issued this morning, the 3 MP said that they had engaged M/s Tan Rajah and Cheah to defend them, and that they are taking legal advice and will contest the lawsuit and lay out our case vigorously in court.

In emphasising that the accused MPs have acted in good faith and in the best interests of the Town Council and our residents, the statement said that they “will be furnishing more information so that all concerned will be clearer on the issues and why (they) made the decisions and acted as (they) did.”

AHTC filed a writ of summons regarding a breach of fiduciary duty in the High Court last Friday. A pre-trial conference has been set for 31 August 2017.

The independent panel is chaired by senior counsel Philip Jeyaretnam, and includes senior counsel N. Sreenivasan and KPMG managing partner Ong Pang Thye. Interestingly, Philip Jeyaretnam is the younger son of late opposition politician J.B. Jeyaratnam who led the Workers’ Party from 1971 to 2001.

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