Noting the serious issues and lapses on the part of Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council flagged by the Auditor General’s report as well as the Court of Appeal’s Judgment, Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC) in a statement issued on 30 May 2016 said that it “has a duty to its residents to ensure that it has received all of the property and rights which should in law be transferred to it from AHPETC.”
The People’s Action Party (PAP) town council further said that: “PRPTC would have liked to carry out the review together with Aljunied – Hougang Town Council (AHTC) and had proposed that to AHTC. But AHTC rejected PRPTC’s proposal to jointly appoint independent accountants.”
In saying that it has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PWC”) as independent accountants
to look into these issues and that PWC has commenced work, PRPTC’s statement said that it required and has requested additional documents from AHTC for it to do its work properly.
“PRPTC still has not received the documents from AHTC,” its statement said.
Chairman of AHTC has taken issue woth PRPTC’s statement and has described it as misleading. We republish AHTC’s press statement dated 1 June 2016.
I refer to the press release of 30 May 2016 by Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (“PRPGTC”), on the Appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”) as “independent accountants”.
In my email of 15 March 2016 to Mr Zainal Sapari, Chairman, PRPGTC, I informed him that the Court of Appeal judgment CA114/2015 of 27 November 2015 (the “judgment”) did not direct the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (“AHTC”) to jointly appoint accountant(s) in consultation with PRPGTC. The judgment directed that AHTC seek the concurrence of HDB in its choice of accountants and the accountants’ terms of reference.
In accordance with the judgment, AHTC has already appointed a team from KPMG LLP to be accountants, with HDB’s concurrence. KPMG’s remit is thorough and includes looking at AHTC’s history of payment transactions from 2011 to November 2015, which comprehensively covers the period of time Punggol East SMC was under the purview of AHTC (earlier as AHPETC). AHTC has also committed to making KPMG’s monthly reports public on its website.
Despite the above, one month later, Mr Zainal Sapari informed me in a letter dated 15 April 2016, that PRPGTC had independently proceeded to appoint PwC.
PRPGTC’s press statement of 30 May 2016 states that it had requested “additional documents” from AHTC for the purposes of their “independent review” (please click here for the press statement from PRPGTC). This characterisation of the number of documents PRPGTC requires is misleading.
In Mr Zainal’s letter of 15 April 2016, PRPGTC requested AHTC to hand over all documents and information that AHTC had made available for the Court of Appeal-mandated review, to PwC. This would effectively duplicate the work of KPMG and, separately, require AHTC to commit resources devoted to the KPMG review to attend to PRPGTC’s requests.
On 19 April 2016, I replied to Mr Zainal informing him that AHTC would reply to PRPGTC’s request after a management meeting. On 22 April 2016, I followed up to inform Mr Zainal that AHTC’s management had decided to put up his request of 15 April 2016 for a decision at AHTC’s May 2016 Town Council meeting.
On 25 May 2016, I replied to Mr Zainal to say that AHTC’s Town Councillors had decided that AHTC ought to focus its fullest attention on the KPMG review. I also informed him that AHTC would be transferring a second tranche of sinking fund monies attributable to Punggol East SMC in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, AHTC authorised the release to PRPGTC of this second tranche of sinking funds belonging to Punggol East SMC, comprising a further $10m. In doing so, AHTC now has transferred a total of $20m of sinking funds attributable to Punggol East SMC. A final transfer of any remaining sinking funds attributable to Punggol East SMC will be made to PRPGTC once the audited accounts for Punggol East SMC are ready.
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