WP/AHTC/PRPTC court case – making a mountain out of a molehill

I would think that it would be common practice to cross your “T”s and dot your “I”s when you are compiling a report that could potentially lead to a court case that could cost the public millions. According to reports, this is not the methodology practiced by PwC partner Goh Thien Phong (Goh). It is mind-boggling that he saw no need to provide FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), agent for Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC) a chance to respond to his allegations before publishing his report.  Goh claims that speaking with FMSS would not have changed his opinion but how can he know whether his mind would have been changed if he does not even know what they would have said to him? He never asked?

Doesn’t it sound like Goh’s mind was already (subconsciously or otherwise) made up? Has this prejudgment on the part of Goh (unwittingly or otherwise) resulted in a drain of public resources? If so, will there be repercussions? Can the public potentially take a case against PwC for negligence leading to the waste of public resources?

The trial to date has been focused on the minutiae, ranging from the level of one’s command of the English language to whether or not trust is the same as control. Come on people! Don’t we have real things to be concerned about? What is the actual harm that has been done to the people of Singapore or the residents of AHTC? Secondly, is the purported harm worth the herculean court case and its accompanying costs?

Looking at what has reportedly transpired in court thus far, all I can see are the apparent gaps in practices utilised by accounting giants KPMG and PwC in Singapore. Both have compiled their reports in a seeming vacuum, ignoring context altogether. How accurate can such reports be?

Further, PwC has displayed its own staggering lack of internal communication. Seems strange that an entity that is alleging another of negligence and breach of duty may also be guilty of the same? And in fact arguably more guilty given the bigger consequences on the public purse strings?

A lot of the argument laid out by counsel for Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC), Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, is premised on the fact that in appointing FMSS as managing agent, the WP did not call for a tender. WP’s Low Thia Khiang’s explanation for this is that the other existing agents in the market would not have worked for the WP managed town council while Singh disagreed with Low’s explanation, accusing Low of protecting WP supporters who had worked in Hougang Town Council for twenty years.

Looking at the unique political landscape in Singapore where political party and sovereignty sometimes seemingly overlap, is Low’s explanation that far fetched so as to be so vociferously challenged by Singh?

Like many things revealed by this trial to date, it just seems like it is a mountain made out of a molehill.

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