Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) saga is like the song that never ends. The issue is still very much in the air and Rise of The Strawberry Nation(RTSN) team decided to take a closer look. Here are little chunks of information followed by thoughts:
FM Solutions and Services (FMSS): Ex-Managing Agent of the AHPETC or you can view that it was outsourced to FMSS to manage the Town Council. As of July 2015, WP is directly managing the Town Council.
After Auditor-General’s office(AGO) conducted a financial audit into AHPETC’s account, the report released on 09 February opened cans of worms.
Let us pick 3 cans to talk about:
1st can: No proper system to monitor the arrears of service and conservancy charges(S&CC).
RTSN: Wah, certain households don’t need to pay S&CC.
2nd can: Conflict of interest relating to transactions. Danny Loh and How Weng Fan, managing director and general manager of FMSS were also general manager and deputy secretary at the town council. Two other officers in the AHPETC have also stakes in FMSS.
RTSN: The various parties should give up either the position in Town Council or FMSS to prevent conflict of interest.
3rd can: Monies not transferred into sinking funds. A town council is required by law to have a sinking fund which it can draw on for the improvement and long-term maintenance of properties it has charge of. It did not transfer a total of $7.9 million to its sinking fund for the last three quarters of the financial year 2011/12, until it was queried by the AGO.
RTSN: Ministry of National Development (MND) needs to have a system to oversee this process.
There’re further disagreements between G and WP over the tenders for MA and G is also withholding $14 million in grants, over two financial years.
Assessment: WP should get this fix asap if they still wants to retain voters and how AHPETC is managing the cash flows is a big question mark. Benefit of doubt was given in the initial stage when things are being handled over from White but the state after 4 years is of concern. Their silence and unconvincing answers are worrying.
Voters might be emotive but when there is an elephant in the room staring at them, who will they choose?
A lot of money is involved and it is only right for a responsible G to pursue this further. Arranging for an Independent Auditor to complete the audit seems fair. Why worry if there’s nothing to hide? The next court hearing will be on 10 Aug 2015 and that will determine whether MND has any legal basis to request for an Independent Auditor.
Hopefully, the accounts can be cleaned up and we can move on from this saga.
Eliz – Rise of The Strawberry Generation (RTSN)
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