The Law and Home Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam, in speaking on the the investigation of the General Manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) contrasted the approaches of PAP-run town council with the one run by Workers’ Party (WP). WP’s then-Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council, has been under scrutiny for its relationship between its former managing agent FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) and Essential Maintenance Service Unit (EMSU) contractor FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI).
Mr Shanmugam alleged that unlike the PAP-run town council, the Workers’ Party-run town council has not been transparent with the general public.
The Workers’ Party in responding to Mr Shanmugam’s harsh criticisms of its town council management said that “since CPIB is investigating the AMKTC case, we should let due process take its course and not jump to conclusions.”
In its statement, WP pointed out that when their auditors released the report on AHTC in July 2016, “some people jumped prematurely on the possibility of fraud and fictitious payments without waiting for the results of the audit.”
Their auditor, KPMG, had said in the July 2016 report that the use of this “highly irregular shortcut” made it “practically impossible” to have effective oversight of these transactions.
They added: “Such large-scale use of this practice raises questions about the management of AHTC’s finance function. Consequently, it is easier for duplicate payments or fictitious payments to be made without being detected.”
Mr Shanmugam had then taken issue with the manner the WP announced the lapses highlighted by its auditors. In a Facebook post, the Minister said KPMG’s report underlined that “AHTC’s leadership has neither upheld nor enforced integrity and ethical values”.
“The rot is at the top,” he added. “This should come as no surprise. The High Court and the Court of Appeal have already criticised Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Pritam Singh for suppressing the truth (designed to mislead) both in Parliament and in Court. To them, the truth is a tradable commodity.”
Aljunied-Hougang Town Council subsequently ordered a 100% check on the $60m direct journal entry and dummy code issues.
WP’s unsigned statement today said, “when no fraud and fictitious payments were found, the speculators kept quiet.”
The statement further said: “Premature speculation, especially when done by influential people, may pervert the course of justice by shaping investigations. So let’s wait for the findings of the CPIB on the AMKTC case and let the law take its course.”