Public should not jump into conclusion on corruption investigation of PAP town council GM like what some speculators did

Workers’ Party has issued a statement, calling for the public not to jump into conclusion in regards to the AMKTC corruption case and the AHTC governance issue.

Just a while ago, the Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam was quoted by media on the investigation by Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) upon the former General Manager of Ang Mo Kio Town Council.

He said, “In Aljunied, it’s court of appeal after court of appeal. You call that good behaviour with public funds? Now even after the final court of appeal, investigations are ongoing because you have a further set of accountants looking at more information. Eventually, it will come full circle after the auditors are finished. There is more to come,” and added, “But this is not the way to do things. The way is to be open and let the law take its course and not hide every step of the way.”

Following his comment, the media asked WP to comment on what Minister Shanmugam has said but WP declined to comment and said, “Since CPIB is investigating the AMKTC case, we should let due process take its course and not jump to conclusions.”

The party went on to state an earlier incident with its July 2016 report where KPMG discovered that Aljunied-Hougang Town Council  (AHTC) used shortcuts to process millions of dollars in payments to related parties and “dummy” vendor codes used for payments and its town council.

It immediately ordered a 100% check on the $60m direct journal entry and dummy code issues whoever, there were some people who jumped prematurely on the possibility of fraud and ficticious payments without waiting for the results of the audit.

“When no fraud and fictitious payments were found, the speculators kept quiet.” said the party statement.

It further states, “Premature speculation, especially when done by influential people, may pervert the course of justice by shaping investigations. So let’s wait for the findings of the CPIB on the AMKTC case and let the law take its course.”

So who might the speculators be?

Back in July 2016, when the first reports from KPMG’s finding was published. Mr K Shanmugan took to his Facebook page and posted a status update 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 had written 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.

However in August when KPMG found no duplicate or fictitious payments with respect to its checks on AHTC’s use of dummy vendor codes, and that all payments were supported by documentation, Mr K Shanmugam then kept quiet with his accusations and did not retract his comments on the matter.

At this point, it would seem that the minister’s comment is much suited to be used to question the PAP town council instead.

As to the minister’s comment about being “open”, it will be still be seen by all on how open will the Peoples’ Action Party be about the investigations and whether the Ministry of National Development and Housing Development Board call for an audit into the town council’s accounts like what was expected of the AHPETC.