The People’s Association (PA) was reported to have received an “adverse opinion” in its financial statements, and has been receiving the same rating since 2008. The adverse opinion, purportedly the worst possible in the grading of financial statements, was caused by PA’s failure to include the financial statements of grassroots organisations (GROs) under its charge.
The revelation was made on news website TR Emeritus yesterday and has been spreading online since.
PA has subsequently issued a media statement to clarify that the adverse opinion was related to only “one reason”, in reference to the lack of clarity on the financial status of its GROs.
It is not clear how severe this single infringement might have been to trigger an adverse opinion, nor was it clear why PA was unable to rectify the situation since 2008.
PA offered that “the funds in these accounts belong to grassroots organisations, which are operationally self-funding. Further, all GROs are subject to proper procurement procedures, financial controls and good corporate governance practices.”
No separate financial statements from the GROs were provided to support this claim.
PA also indicated that it has “taken steps to consolidate all grassroots accounts into its financial statements, to be in full compliance with the financial reporting standards for statutory boards” and “is on track to present a fully consolidated accounts for FY 2013”.
The report by TR Emeritus came to light following a much publicised debate between the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) and the Ministry of National Development (MND) over the “disclaimer of opinion” that AHPETC received for its financial statement.
TR Emeritus also indicated that Dr Ernest Kan, President of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) and Pasir Ris Punggol grassroots leader, had earlier agreed with MND that the audit findings on AHPETC are “serious”.
The adverse opinion that PA received is technically worse than what AHPETC received. Dr Kan has not as yet commented on PA’s rating.
Following the revelation of AHPETC’s rating, Sylvia Lim, chairman of AHPETC, has been fielding media queries and leading in issuing media statements.
The chairman of PA is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. PM Lee has yet to respond in person to this latest revelation by TR Emeritus.