SINGAPORE: One day after the Court of Appeal released a judgment regarding the long-standing AHTC case on Wednesday (Nov 29), the Sengkang Town Council (SKTC) issued a statement that no payments will be made to The Workers’ Party as it is a political entity.

“In relation to queries over costs payable associated with the trials, we confirm that these will be covered by SKTC’s operating funds, with provisions already in place. We also wish to clarify that The Workers’ Party, as a political entity, is not involved in the matter and no payments will be made to the party,” the statement added.

WP MP Ms He Ting Ru (Sengkang GRC) shared the statement on her Facebook page on Thursday (Nov 30). Ms He, who chairs the SKTC, wrote that the statement is a full response to media queries on the matter. Assoc Prof Jamus Lim, her fellow Sengkang GRC MP, also shared the statement.

The Court of Appeal, the highest court of Singapore’s judicial system, said on Nov 29 that WP Chief Pritam Singh, party chair Sylvia Lim, former secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, and others had succeeded substantially in their appeals.

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The town councils that sued the WP leaders and others have been ordered to pay around S$388,800 in costs and disbursements over the appeals in the case. Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) must pay S$176,241.11, and SKTC is to pay a total of S$212,543.52 in costs and disbursements to the town councillors, employees, and managing agent FMSS for the appeals.

“The cases related to legal action initiated on 3 August 2017, by Pasir-Punggol Town Council (PRPGTC) and have been ongoing since. On 28 October 2020, all relevant legal proceedings were transferred by way of law to Sengkang Town Council (SKTC) as mandated by the Town Councils Act (Declaration Order 2020),” wrote SKTC in its statement.

SKTC added that in September 2020, it appointed an independent panel to handle court appeals involving PRPGTC. The panel, which provided services pro bono, had been trusted to act independently and impartially in SKTC’s best interests, and its Terms of Reference have been made accessible to the public.

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In July, the Court found Ms Lim and Mr Low liable for negligence in the town council payments process but cleared Mr Singh. However, the costs for the long-running trial will be decided after damages have been assessed. The Court also confirmed the liability of the WP leaders and town councillors to SKTC due to negligence that allowed control failures to persist in the system.

Read also: AHTC, SKTC ordered to pay WP leaders and others S$388,800 in costs & disbursements /TISG