AHTC chairman said it is “not helpful to speculate or jump the gun” on progress report

Chairman of Aljuned-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), Pritam Singh said “that it is not helpful to speculate or jump the gun” on comments regarding the progress report by its auditor, KPMG  LLP.

This was in response to the remarks made by the Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugan on Saturday evening on the KMPG’s report of July 2016

Minister Shanmugan posted on his Facebook at 7pm last night to lambast the AHTC which is run by Workers’ Party, saying that  AHTC’s leadership has neither upheld nor enforced integrity and ethical values.

He wrote, “The rot is at the top. 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. I will say more about this in another post.”

The minister also wrote that AHTC’s lapses were found by their auditors to be not isolated, but rather “pervasive” and “systemic”:

In relation to the finding that AHTC used shortcuts to process millions of dollars in payments to related parties and “dummy” vendor codes used for payments.

The minister used harsh words by saying, “These practices could have concealed duplicate or fraudulent payments. Obviously, WP’s leadership thought they could play Aljunied residents – and Singaporeans — for dummies.” and said Mr Singh and his colleagues can’t keep Singaporeans in the dark so easily with the many problems identified by KPMG.

Mr Singh said that the Minister’s response is a surprising one, considering the KPMG report of July 2016 was a stock-take on AHTC’s internal controls.

He noted that the town council had chose to publish all the KPMG reports released since 15 April 2016, even though it was not obliged to do so.

“In fact, AHTC had specifically requested KPMG to publish the 70 additional lapses it identified in the course of its engagement since April 2016, even though KPMG had not intended to detail them in its report. The remedial measures AHTC has undertaken since the 70 additional lapses were identified are also highlighted in the July report.” wrote Mr Singh.

He further noted that the review of Past Payments is still ongoing and a full report is expected to be released by KPMG to AHTC at the end of August 2016 and added that “it is not helpful to speculate or jump the gun.”

Mr Singh assured the public that AHTC will publish the Past Payments Report, like all previous KPMG reports for scrutiny in full, and that the town council will take any necessary action thereafter.

Report on progress for Aljuned-Hougang Town Council – (click here for the full report)