Team LKT’s leader Lim Kia Tong said on Monday (24 Apr), that they had no knowledge of the S$500,000 donation from businessman Bill Ng that went to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) in 2015.
Mr Lim told the media the matter was never raised at council meetings, “There was no discussion, this subject was never raised at council or ex-co meetings, and that is the truth.”
“In all honesty, myself plus all the other council members did not know about how and who triggered this idea of donation or sponsorship to the ASEAN Football Federation,” he said.
Team LKT is one of the team running for the FAS elections this coming Saturday, and Mr Ng’s Team Game Changers is the other one.
Mr Lim was accompanied by Bernard Tan, the team’s choice for deputy president, and S Thavaneson, one of four vice-president candidates on the Team LKT slate. They were FAS council members at that time the donation was made.
Mr Tan said, “The FAS has many financial policies in place for procurement and spending. But there is no donation policy because the FAS rarely gets any donations. Donations to the FAS are extremely rare, you can count them with one hand. The only times we are looking for donations is during our Annual Golf Day to raise money for charity.”
“My suspicion is that financial procedures were followed but they were not designed for this particular transaction,” he said.
“But moving forward, should we have a donation policy? On hindsight, and in light of everything that has happened, I would say yes.”
“Having said that, this incident should not be a reflection of the state of financial management in the FAS because the FAS has won awards before for its financial processes,” Mr Tan pointed.
The subject started controversy last week, after the businessman Bill Ng, who is the Hougang United chairman, revealed his donation and said he has called for a full explanation from FAS over its usage of the donations. FAS general secretary Winston Lee has quickly responded and said Mr Ng was aware his donation was meant for AFF. The controversy subsequently caused SportSG to look into the matter.
After preliminary investigations, SportSG has made a police report on 19 April on misuse of TBFC’s funds and a purported attempt by a senior officer of the club to delay and/or obstruct the completion of audits into the S.League sit-out clubs.’
Following the report the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) officers raided the clubhouses of TBFC, Hougang and Woodlands Wellington, which Ng is also linked with, as well as the FAS headquarters at Jalan Besar Stadium, and seized computer equipment and cartons of documents on 20 April. The CAD has also questioned Mr Ng, his wife Bonnie Wong, Lee and Zainudin.
The six members of Team LKT’s slate of nine candidates led by Lim Kia Tong, were part of the Council when the donation was made. As the former Council members they ought to be also be responsible for the lack of governance within the FAS under their watch.
When the media asked if the former FAS Council members felt a sense of outrage when the news first broke, Mr Tan said: “Honestly, we didn’t know what to feel because we were caught off guard by the news. We didn’t know what to think because at the time, we didn’t know whether things were done correctly or wrongly.”
“However, we are saddened by the events that have happened which have badly affected football in Singapore.”
“At the end of the day, no matter which team is elected, the new council will have to work very hard to heal football in our country,” Mr Tan said.