We published a letter from one of our readers Augustine Lee titled, “Are renovations done under Home Improvement Programme overpriced?”, in August 2016 (https://theindependent.sg.sg/are-renovations-done-under-home-improvement-programme-overpriced). Was this letter the trigger that led to the investigation of the general manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB)? The complaint against the town council manager was made in September, and he was removed from his duties last month.
The letter writer Mr Lee said that after researching for the market prices of some of the items in the list of Home Improvement Programme (HIP), his friend living in Ang No Kio found out that the renovations were grossly overpriced.
“My friend then reported the matter to the Auditor General’s Office (AGO,” Mr Lee said.
Adding, “the AGO said they will take action.”
The HIP quoted $1,000 for the replacement of grill gate. The market price for such replacement is between $340 to $440 (http://www.hohoengineering1976.com.sg/wrought-iron-gate-singapore.html and http://acmedesign.com.sg/contact.php).
HIP also quoted residents $550 for the replacement and installation of chute hopper. The market price for such a replacement and installation is about $150 (http://acmedesign.com.sg/contact.php).
The General Manager was flagged for “the way he handles contracts and dealings in the town council”. The general manager , Mr Victor Wong, is also the secretary for the town council is employed by CPG Facilities Management. He has been put on forced leave.
No further details were given about the possible rot at a town council anchored by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. But Mr Ang Hin Kee, the town council’s chairman said the complaint “arose out of his dealings which relates to probable behaviour needing investigation done by CPIB”.
Mr Ang who is also an MP of the constituency said. “Needless to say, the town council ourselves will render all assistance needed to ensure zero tolerance for corruption.”
Mr Ang’s comments that town council staff are constantly reminded to declare any interests concerning tenders being awarded by the council, suggests that the investigations center around contracts being handled by the general manager and undeclared potential conflicts of interests.
“If there are declarations to be made, if there are interests to declare, the people involved (must) make those declarations”. – Ang Hin Kee
Another employee of CPG, Mr Lim Kian Chiong, has been appointed as an acting general manager of the town council.
Mr Victor Wong was awarded the Public Service Medal (PBM) in 2007 for his contributions as a grassroots leader under Aljunied GRC. The GRC was held by the People’s Action Party (PAP) at that time and Mr George Yeo was its anchor-Minister. Mr Wong was the Assistant Treasurer of the Serangoon Management Committee (CCMC).