If the Court of Appeal upholds a High Court decision not to appoint independent accountants to the  Aljunied-Houngang-Punngol East Town Council (AHPETC), the Housing and Development Board (HDB) may be brought in as co-plaintiffs alongside the Ministry of National Development (MND) for the case.

The application was made of 22 June but it is still subject to the Court of Appeal’s grant.

When Justice Quentin Loh in the High Court rejected MND’s bid to appoint the accountants on 27 May, he did not rule out the possibility of HDB or residents of AHPETC to take legal action against a town council if it fails to perform its duties.

In a joint statement on Tuesday (7 July), the National Development Ministry and HDB clarified that the application was made in anticipation of two possible developments in the Court of Appeal.

“HDB’s application is on the basis that it only needs to be heard if the Court of Appeal agrees with the High Court that (i) the HDB (and not the MND) is the proper party to seek the court order; and (ii) the only reason why MND’s application for independent accountants is not granted is because MND is not the correct party to apply for it.”

Peter Low,  Lawyer for AHPETC and Sylvia Lim, Chair of AHPETC and WP MP (Photo: Straits Times)
Peter Low, Lawyer for AHPETC and Sylvia Lim, Chair of AHPETC and the Workers Party (Photo: Straits Times)

Sylvia Lim, who chairs AHPETC and the Workers Party, expressed surprise at HDB’s application.

“The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) is surprised that just when the MND’s appeal is about to be heard by the Court of Appeal, HDB files a court document giving notice of its intention to join MND’s lawsuit, in case the MND loses its appeal. AHPETC will make its position on this known in court.”

Lawyer for AHPETC, Peter Low, told the media after a closed-door hearing before Assistant Registrar Paul Chan on Monday that both sides will have to prepare and exchange submissions on this matter before the Court of Appeal hears the case on Aug 3.

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