International Business & Economy Subcontractors affected by non-payment by ex-NMP-linked company take matters into own hands

Subcontractors affected by non-payment by ex-NMP-linked company take matters into own hands




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The sub-contractors who were affected by the non-payment for their work by a former NMP-linked company tried to take the matter directly to the attention of the main contractor and to the members of the public. The sub-contractors were working on a multi-million dollars project awarded to the main contractor, Anaergia Pte Ltd (APL), by PUB.

SEAS Chairman with Minister Iswaran
SEAS Chairman with Minister Iswaran

Mr Edwin Khew, former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) and chairman of Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore was one of the directors of APL.

APL was part of Anaergia Inc (AI), which is headquartered in Canada, and was set-up with $100 in paid up capital. APL was sold to a third-party in Dec 2015, and AI set-up another subsidiary Anaergia Singapore Pte Ltd (APSL). Before it was sold however, APL had not fully paid its sub-contractors for the PUB project, and they are crying foul.

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The PUB project was an endeavour to build Singapore’s first co-digestion plant at PUB’s Ulu Pandan Water Reclamation Plan. The ambitious project would have converted food waste and used water to generate electricity. The project was to have been completed last September but is now about 60 percent done, and slated for completion by year end, said PUB.

The sub-contractors had approached PUB to help them settle their payment dispute with APL, but PUB has asked them to seek legal redress instead. “PUB has no contracts with these sub-contractors,” its spokesperson said.

When asked why it was continuing to work with AI when its former affiliate had payment disputes with its sub-contractors, PUB said the AI’s new subsidiary, ASPL will not include anyone it previously worked with from APL.

Edwin Khew with Teo Ser Luck
Edwin Khew with Teo Ser Luck

ACRA records however showed that both APL and APSL shared at least one director in common – Mr Khew. The ex-NMP washed his hands off the dispute saying that he was not involved in the actual project, but only in APSL’s marketing and project development.

Luca Belli, the managing director of APSL said that APL was no longer a part of AI and that it bears no relation to the Canada-based company. He said the sub-contractors, Structura Construction and Brilliant Engineering, had to contact APL directly regarding their outstanding payment.

The sub-contractors, Structura Construction and Brilliant Engineering, question why PUB gave a multi-million dollars project to APL which only had $100 as its paid up capital.

The sub-contractors claimed that APL received 3.5 million from PUB, and paid only $1 million down payment to them. The sub-contractors had contracts worth about $2.4 million in total with APL, but after the project was 60 percent complete, APL declared that it had no more money money to pay them.

The sub-contractors charged that the ex-Nominated Member of Parliament, quit APL only to jump to APSL, to avoid his liabilities to the sub-contractors. Pointing out how both APL as well as PUB had abandoned them, the sub-contractors asked what APL had done with the money disbursed to them by PUB.

As all the sub-contractors efforts to engage APL in recent months have hit a dead end, as APSL refuses t talk to them, the sub-contractors decided to take matters into their own hands.

The sub-contractors decided to confront the representatives of APSL who set-up a booth at Marina Bay Sands to participate in Singapore International Water Week.

This publication was there when representatives of the sub-contractors handed out copies of newspaper reports to APSL staff who were manning the booth. We also interviewed them later. The sub-contractors said that they were at their wits end. The following is the interview.
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Video: Ben Matchap

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