By Leong Sze Hian
When I read the July 2013 issue of Petir, I noticed that the cover page said “In this issue - Lau Ping Sum’s political takeaways″, the article featured on page 6 of the magazine .
I remember reading in media reports about the “AIM” issue, that Lau Ping Sum was one of the three directors of AIM and one of the two shareholders. Mr Lau was also the oldest shareholder and director by date of appointment (he was appointed on 1 January 1998).
The above referenced Petir issue states that “When Lau Ping Sum takes up a task, he throws his heart and soul into it. It was the case when he was in public service, as an MP and as the first full-time executive director of the PAP’s headquarters.
He described the last as “ensuring adequate support for the HQ Exco”. He served there for twelve years, retiring in January this year.”
Executive Director, shareholder and director?
So, does it mean that when the 14 town councils’ software was sold to AIM in 2010, Mr Lau was the executive director of the PAP as well as a director and shareholder of AIM?
As a layman, my following question may be a silly one, but I shall ask it anyway.
Conflict of interest?
If town councils award a contract to a related company, and the related company’s director and shareholder is also the executive director of the political party running the town councils, is there not a possible conflict of interest?
As a layman, I have been told and given the understanding that in such situations, the conflict of interest needs to be declared, and the persons with the “conflict of interest” should abstain from voting or participating in the decision-making process in the awarding of the contract.
In this connection, another political party was questioned in Parliament about the award of its town council contracts to a related company with a possible “conflict of interest”, as the owners and directors were as I understand – formerly employees, appointment holders or members of the town council.
Again, as a layman, my following question may sound like a stupid question but still it has to be asked:
Different “Conflict of interest”?
If I may use an analogy, is there any difference – significant, minor or otherwise (from the perspective of conflict of interest) – when an entity A awards a contract to company B whose directors and shareholders are a related party to some of A’s directors , but is also at the same time an executive employee of company C owned by some of A’s directors,
as against when an entity X awards a contract to company Y whose directors and shareholders are a related party to some of X’s directors because they were former employees or directors of X (but not an executive employee of company Z owned by some of X’s directors)?
Can the experts give their views on the above?
Obvious question about town councils’ software?
Although a great deal has been written and debated about “AIM”, I think an obvious question was never asked.
How much did Hougang town council spend on its software and how much will the new Aljunied-Hougang town council (AHPETC) spend on its software? How do these figures compare to what was spent by the 14 town councils – about $24 million and about another $17 under the new tender awarded in April this year?