Monday, 17 February 2014

From NEA MND MOF to AGO

HOW MUCH LONGER DO YOU WANT DIRTY POLITICKING TO GO ON?

First it was AIM. Then came the hawker centre cleaning issue in which PAP grassroots members played a key role, aided by NEA under an incompetent Vivian Balakrishnan.

This was followed by the issue of trade fairs where PAP grassroots advisor Victor Lye and his gang tried to stir controversy.


Now we have revelation of the former Managing Agent under PAP withholding information to WP to prevent it from closing its books.



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MEDIA RELEASE: WORKER'S PARTY RESPONDS TO MND GIVING THEM RED REPORT CARD
The government has released its latest Town Council Management Report and graded Workers’ Party’s Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council with the only “red” grade in the entire report.

Worker’s party received “red” in the area of collecting Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) as it had more than 5% of households which were in arrears for more than 3 months.

The report was released today (21 Nov) and was an assessment of the 15 town councils in Singapore for their performance for 1 year ending in March 2013.


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MND gives AHPETC lowest rating in corporate governance

Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) has been given the lowest rating in corporate governance by the Ministry of National Development (MND) in its Town Council Management Report.

The Workers’ Party-run town council was not given a rating for corporate governance when the MND published its annual management report for all town councils last November, as it had failed to submit its financial audits. It submitted its audited financial statements on Feb 10.

Publishing an update on the report today (March 7), the MND said it awarded the town council a “red” grade as it had not complied with the provisions of the Town Councils Act and the Town Councils Financial Rules, and there were at least two counts of contraventions. AHPETC had failed to transfer S$12.46 million into the bank account of the sinking funds and failed to keep proper accounts and records of its transactions and affairs.


Aljunied affair: Call for independent review

Set up an independent committee to review town councils, suggested Gillian Koh, senior reseach fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies.

Koh said that the government must be seen to be even-handed in dealing with town councils as a result of the Workers’ Party-run town council saga. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament on March 3 that his ministry was re-examining the framework governing Town Councils. The move was to ensure better protection of public money.

Khaw has listed three key areas for review – the town council’s duties and responsibilities, its sinking funds and long-term financial sustainability and the hand-over arrangement when MPs change.


Auditor-General to study WP town council's accounts

FINANCE Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has directed the Auditor-General to audit the accounts of the town council run by the Workers' Party (WP).

The directive comes after the town council's auditors identified 13 items to be issues of concern, which led them to give a disclaimer of opinion on its FY2012/13 financial statements.

Mr Tharman, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, exercised his powers under the Audit Act, at the request of National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

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Auditor-General to audit AHPETC’s FY2012/13 accounts

The Auditor-General will be conducting an audit of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council’s (AHPETC) FY2012/13 accounts, after the town council’s independent auditor raised 13 issues of concern over its accounts last week.


“As stewards of public funds, all town councils must keep proper accounts and records, and ensure adequate control over their assets. The observations in the Auditor’s Report raise serious questions about the reliability and accuracy of AHPETC’s financial and accounting systems,” said the Ministry of National Development (MND) and Ministry of Finance (MOF) in a joint statement today (Feb 19).


AHPETC chairman Sylvia Lim said the town council welcomes the Government’s decision. “We assure the Auditor-General’s Office of our full co-operation in this matter,” she said in a statement.


related:

AHPETC audit: Minister for Finance’s letter to Auditor-General’s Office
AHPETC audit: MND’s letter to Minster for Finance
AHPETC audit: Auditor-General to audit AHPETC’s FY2012-13 accounts
Tharman directs Auditor-General to audit WP town council's accounts

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MND explains why it did not act against AHPETC earlier


The Ministry of National Development (MND) has explained why it did not act when auditors engaged by Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) made a disclaimer of opinion in FY2011.


The auditors made the disclaimer, which means they were unable to express an opinion on the financial position of the town council due to insufficient evidence, for the financial year ended 31 March 2013.


In response to media queries, the MND said: "FY2011 was the first year the town council had received a disclaimer of opinion for its accounts.


related:
Finance Minister directs Auditor-General to conduct audit of AHPETC accounts
“Disclaimer of opinion” more severe than “qualified opinion”: MND on auditors' report
MND’s observations on auditors' report will “mislead public”: Sylvia Lim
Auditors unable to provide audit opinion on AHPETC's financial statements

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“Disclaimer of opinion” more severe than “qualified opinion”: MND on auditors' report



The Ministry of National Development (MND) has said the "disclaimer of opinion" expressed by the independent auditors for Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council's latest financial statements is more severe than a "qualified opinion".


"Disclaimers of opinion" are issued by auditors when they refuse to sign off on financial statements completely, due to lack of information.


Chairman of the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), Sylvia Lim, had said that the auditors had given a "qualified" but not "adverse" report.


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Auditors' report on AHPETC's financial statements serious, says expert



An audit expert said that the findings of independent auditors engaged by the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) are serious.


The auditors had issued a “disclaimer of opinion” for the town council's latest financial statements for the financial year ended March 31, 2013.


Observers said the “disclaimer of opinion” issued points to deeper issues with the financial statements.


related:

MND’s observations on auditors' report will “mislead public”: Sylvia Lim
Auditors unable to provide audit opinion on AHPETC's financial statements

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AHPETC auditors' disclaimer of opinion on financial statements


THE controversy over the latest accounts of a Workers' Party-run town council was ramped up a notch last night with Ms Sylvia Lim releasing a lengthy defence of the council's position, which the Ministry of National Development (MND) promptly responded to.


Ms Lim described as incomplete and misleading the MND's observations on the latest financial statements of the town council under her charge.


Ms Lim, who chairs the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), was responding to MND's statement on Thursday where it expressed concern that the council's independent auditors had submitted a disclaimer of opinion on its accounts for the second year running.


related:

Auditors' report on AHPETC's financial statements serious, says expert - 14Feb2014
Auditors unable to provide audit opinion on AHPETC's financial statements - 13Feb2014

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Auditors unable to fully verify AHPETC accounts for second year


The auditors were unable to determine the validity and accuracy of various items in AHPETC’s accounts. These included receivables of some $1.8 million and some $20 million worth of lift repair and lift upgrading expenses. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The Ministry of National Development has expressed concern that independent auditors have been unable to fully verify Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council’s (AHPETC) accounts for the second year in a row.


In a press statement on Thursday, the ministry noted that the town council had not complied with some provisions of the Town Councils Act and the Town Councils Financial Rules, as reported by the independent auditor.


The Workers Party-run town council has not been setting aside conservancy and service charges to the bank account of a sinking fund for the maintenance of the estate, the auditor’s report noted. This is mandatory under a section of the Town Councils Financial Rules.


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MND responds to AHPETC’s 14 Feb statement

The AHPETC auditor expressed a disclaimer of opinion on the TC’s FY2012 financial statements. This is more severe than a qualified opinion.


In making the disclaimer, the Auditors raised 13 issues of concern.


Of these 13 issues, 4 of them are related to issues the auditor had raised the year before (FY 2011). The TC had assured MND then (15 August 2013) that “most have been rectified, with a few still in progress”. The auditor’s latest report however showed this not to be the case.

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Auditors unable to fully verify AHPETC accounts for second year; MND concerned
The Ministry of National Development has expressed concern that independent auditors have been unable to fully verify Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council's (AHPETC) accounts for the second year in a row. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The Ministry of National Development has expressed concern that independent auditors have been unable to fully verify Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council's (AHPETC) accounts for the second year in a row.

In a press statement on Thursday, the ministry noted that the town council had not complied with some provisions of the Town Councils Act and the Town Councils Financial Rules, as reported by the independent auditor.

The Workers Party-run town council has not been setting aside conservancy and service charges to the bank account of a sinking fund for the maintenance of the estate, the auditor's report noted. This is mandatory under a section of the Town Councils Financial Rules.


AHPETC clarifies “disclaimer of opinion” of audit report


The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council issued a media statement on 14 February in response to recent reports about auditors submitting a disclaimer of opinion on the town council’s accounts, as it was felt the town council had not complied with provisions of the Town Councils Act and the Town Councils Financial Rules.


In the media statement, town council chairman Slyvia Lim cautioned that the Ministry of National Development’s public statement of the issue might have misled public perception. She also indicated that the problems identified by the auditors were a result of information gaps that existed at the hand-over process of the town council after the 2011 General Elections.


The media release indicated that “MND could well be the best party to assist the TC to resolve some of the key information gaps”, and noted the AHPETC’s request for MND’s assistance to verify and confirm the missing information.


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ISCA PRESIDENT TOLD PAP TC TO SELL SOFTWARE TO AIM, SAYS AHPETC LAPSES ARE "SERIOUS"

Dr Kan is a grassroots member for Pasir Ris Punggol Town Council

More and more people are starting to weigh in on the current saga about incomplete financial accounts of the Worker's Party held Aljunied Hougang Punggol-East Town Council (AHPETC).


Dr Ernest Kan, the president of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants has also agreed with MND saying that it is a serious issue that the AHPETC is missing financial records.


Dr Kan clarified that a disclaimer of opinion occurs when an auditor feels that there are insufficient records for him to give an opinion. He further explained that this usually occurs where transaction documentation has been misplaced or lost and said that this is 'serious'.


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Dr Kan’s auditing firm advised PAP TCs to sell & lease back TCMS software



Earlier, TRE reported that the president of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), Dr Ernest Kan, had agreed with MND that the audit findings on AHPETC are “serious” (President of ISCA: AHPETC’s audit report ‘serious’)


Dr Kan’s statement came after WP issued its reply yesterday (‘AHPETC to MND: We need figures from you‘, 14 Feb) to MND’s accusation that the audit findings on AHPETC are “serious”


AHPETC Chairman Sylvia Lim defended its position by arguing that the auditors had given a “qualified” but not “adverse” report


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Opining on the disclaimer of opinion


I think a lot of people learnt a new phrase this week: disclaimer of opinion. It refers to how there’s not enough information or evidence for an opinion to be formed. Odd. I would have thought the absence or lack of such info or proof would be enough for anyone to form an opinion which will be : How can leh?


Question: Is a “qualified’’ auditor’s report that has a disclaimer of opinion consider better or worse than an “adverse’’ report?


I am no accountant or auditor so I guess I’ll have to speculate on why there are missing pieces in the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East financial report that defied the auditor’s ability to give a view.


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AHPETC Needs To Change

The managing agent ("MA") of a town council is a key entity to give effect to the town council's responsibilities of controlling, managing, maintaining and improving the town.

Although Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council's ("AHPETC") performance was rated generally on par with that of the other town councils for FY2012 (ended 31 March 2013) in estate cleanliness, estate maintenance and lift performance, some points raised by its auditor in its audited financial statements for FY2012/13 should give AHPETC pause for thought about its compliance culture, including but not limited to the role of its MA in ensuring compliance with the Town Councils Financial Rules.


related:
AHPETC Lessons For Opposition Parties
AHPETC Audit — MND Must Act

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What happened to the $1.12 million recorded as receivables from CCCs in Aljunied Town Council's accounts?
The Online Citizen, 15 Feb 2014
In the Worker’s Party’s press statement on the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol-East Town Council (AHPETC) 2012/2013 annual report, it emphasized that the independent auditors gave the town council a “qualified report” and not an “adverse report.” Apart from the 13 specific observations, the town council’s books, accounts and records have been kept in accordance with the Town Councils Act. The full audited report can be viewed here.

With regards to the 13 points highlighted by the auditors, the AHPETC explained that since Financial Year 2011, the auditors had tried to request information from the former Managing Agent of the town council when it was under the charge of the People’s Action Party (PAP).However, such requests were unsuccessful.
“Repeated attempts by the Town Council (TC) to obtain information from the former Managing Agent (MA) and government authorities, such as asking MND / the Housing and Development Board regarding $1.12 million which the PAP-run Aljunied TC had recorded as receivables from the Citizens Consultative Committees (CCCs) for Town Improvement Projects, did not yield answers. Further attempts in FY 2012 to get the information were also unsuccessful.”
The Workers’ Party said that unless those agencies with the required information furnished them to the town council, it is likely that information gaps will remain and the accounts will continue to be qualified every year.
Full story

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THE PROBLEM WITH THE TOWN COUNCIL SYSTEM


"Pap tells us that our Town Councils are political tools

This is a WRONG ideology.


TCs are meant to be politically neutral so that every resident, regardless of political persuasion, can be served equally.


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What happened to PAP’s “smooth handover” promise?


The statement and remarks by the Ministry of National Development (MND), in response to the audit report of the Workers’ Party (WP) town council, have raised an important issue with regards to the MND’s fairness in dealing with town councils.

The news first broke on Thursday that the auditors, Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton, had found that it was unable to “obtain sufficient audit evidence” from the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol-East Town Council (AHPETC), to “determine the accuracy and validity of several items in the accounts.”

The WP’s chairman, Sylvia Lim, issued a statement the next day to explain why some things were not verifiable.



Uncle Leong challenges MND to sue AHPETC


I refer to the article “Auditors unable to fully verify AHPETC accounts for second year; MND concerned” (Straits Times, Feb 14).

The Ministry of National Development has expressed concern that independent auditors have been unable to fully verify Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council’s (AHPETC) accounts for the second year in a row.

In a press statement on Thursday, the ministry noted that the town council had not complied with some provisions of the Town Councils Act and the Town Councils Financial Rules, as reported by the independent auditor.

As a resident of Aljunied, I would like to make some comments on the subject issue.
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PAP’s Aljunied TC failed to provide financial records to new TC

In the Worker’s Party’s press statement on the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol-East Town Council (AHPETC) 2012/2013 annual report, it emphasized that the independent auditors gave the town council a “qualified report” and not an “adverse report.” Apart from the 13 specific observations, the town council’s books, accounts and records have been kept in accordance with the Town Councils Act.

The full audited report can be viewed here.


With regards to the 13 points highlighted by the auditors, the AHPETC explained that since Financial Year 2011, the auditors had tried to request information from the former Managing Agent of the town council when it was under the charge of the People’s Action Party (PAP).However, such requests were unsuccessful.


related: AHPETC clarifies “disclaimer of opinion” of audit report


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Tit-for-tat between MND, Workers' Party over AHPETC’s financial audit rumbles on
A part of the residential area in Hougang Single-member Constituency in Singapore. The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council is being taken to court by the National Environment Agency for failing to apply for a licence to operate and organise a trade fair starting 9 January 2014. (Yahoo file photo)
UPDATE Sat, 15 Feb 1150AM: Workers' Party links audit issues to post-GE handover, MND dismisses claims

The Workers' Party says "information gaps" due to the post-2011 General Election handover led to independent auditors being unable to verify certain figures during a recent audit of the  
Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

In a Friday statement, the WP asked the Ministry of National Development to assist with the audit and in closing some of these "information gaps".

"At FY 2011, the auditors had tried to request information from former auditors, unsuccessfully. Repeated attempts by the Town Council (TC) to obtain information from the former Managing Agent (MA) and government authorities, such as asking MND / the Housing and Development Board... did not yield answers. Attempts in FY 2012 to get the information were also unsuccessful. Unless those agencies with the required information furnish them to the TC, it is likely that information gaps will remain and the accounts will continue to be qualified every year," said the statement. [FULL STATEMENT HERE]

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REQUEST FOR MND’S ASSISTANCE AND AUDIT OF AHPETC

We refer to the media statement by the Ministry of National Development (MND) released on the evening of 13 February 2014.  Therein, MND highlighted various concerns regarding the auditor’s report on the financial statements of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) for Financial Year 2012.  As MND’s observations as stated are incomplete and will mislead the public, it is therefore necessary to put the MND’s statement in proper perspective.

The auditors have given us a qualified report.  It is not an adverse report.  They have also stated clearly that apart from their specific observations, our books, accounts and records have been kept in accordance with the Town Councils Act. The full audited report can be found at www.ahpetc.sg.

In its media statement, MND highlighted the auditors’ inability to verify certain figures.  We do understand the auditors’ plight, as there were information gaps that existed at the handover after the General Election 2011 which to date are still not filled.  At FY 2011, the auditors had tried to request information from former auditors, unsuccessfully.  Repeated attempts by the Town Council (TC) to obtain information from the former Managing Agent (MA) and government authorities, such as asking MND / the Housing and Development Board regarding $1.12 million which the PAP-run Aljunied TC had recorded as receivables from the Citizens Consultative Committees (CCCs) for Town Improvement Projects, did not yield answers

related:
Town Council Management Review Published 21 Nov 2013
Minister’s Belated Statement Uncalled For

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Aljunied resident challenged Khaw Boon Wan's Ministry of National Development (MND) to report AHPETC to the relevant authorities for legal action
TR Emeritus, 15 Feb 2014
I refer to the article “Auditors unable to fully verify AHPETC accounts for second year; MND concerned” (Straits Times, Feb 14).

I am commenting as a resident of Aljunied and as a Singaporean, and not in the context of having qualified as a Chartered Secretary (former Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators), former Accredited Investment Fiduciary Auditor and past president of the Society of Financial Service Professionals. It has also been a very long time since I was involved in annual reports or matters relating to corporate governance.

Since as I understand it – this is the second year in a row and more than a year has lapsed since Aljunied’s previous governance issues – why is it that Aljunied has not been taken to task or charged in court by the relevant authorities? You mean “expressing concern” is all that you can do for a second year - and you are not going to anything about it? Full story

Related:
MND responds to AHPETC’s 14 Feb statement - TR Emeritus
Uncle Leong challenges MND to sue AHPETC


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AHPETC accounts troubles


Sian! It would be easiest if WP had failed and should be brought to task over this. But how would we know? Many of us are suspecting that this is yet another attempt by the government and the PAP to fix the opposition. Folks like me and there must be many of us have no time to follow blow by blow what's happening. I will leave this alone but by the next GE, the dust would have settled and become less fuzzy or controversial and then I can study and make up my mind.

If I were WP, I would conserve resources and try to do as little as possible because this is a silly David vs Goliath game. Either you have pebbles to slingshot Goliath or else you just always keep out of harms way. And if I am representative of most voters tired of all these politicking, then the WP is safe because we have lost interest. But if the WP had done wrong, they deserve to face the music.

Better worry about the next haze and spend more time and energy on the existential threat Indonesia could become someday. The PAP should not try to fix any opposition when the forever hard truth for Singapore is that she is so vulnerable. This is an absolutely stupid action as you will discover an ineffective opposition in parliament just create a far larger and dangerous one outside aided and organized by modern technologies.

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AHPETC Lessons For Opposition Parties


The Workers' Party's experience in managing Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council ("AHPETC") is a timely wake-up call for the opposition parties that aspire to win any electoral constituency in the next general election or by-election.

Managing Agent - Around the time of the handover of Aljunied TC from Aljunied GRC's losing People's Action Party ("PAP") Members of Parliament to the victorious The Workers' Party Members of Parliament (and therefore elected members of the town council), the incumbent managing agent ("MA") indicated its desire to be released from the MA contract.

No reason was disclosed by newly constituted Aljunied-Hougang TC ("AHTC") why the incumbent MA would voluntarily walk away from the MA contract, which is estimated to be worth about $4 million a year (before Punggol East was merged into AHTC to form AHPETC).

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Workers Party v Ministry of Finance: A Question of Reliability


Dear Minister, You recently called in the Auditor-General to audit the accounts of Aljunied- Hougang – Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) because the auditor’s reports raised serious questions about the reliability and accuracy of the town council’s financial and accounting systems. The report raised equally serious concerns over alleged discrepancies in the accounts of the former PAP-run Aljunied Town Council. At issue is the sum of 1.12 million dollars, which the former Aljunied Town Council had recorded as a receivable  due from the Citizens Consultative Committees for improvement projects and whose validity has now been denied by both the Ministry for National Development (MND) and HDB.


I would remind you that the Reform Party, in its budget analysis for 2012 and 2013 and my open letters to you and to Christine Lagarde, has repeatedly raised serious questions abut discrepancies and missing information in the way you present the Budget and the picture therein of the government’s finances. (In an unfortunate coincidence your government has ordered our web host to take down our website after a hacking attack thus denying us the ability to provide links to these documents though I have attached our Budget Analysis for 2013 to this letter). In particular the Statement of Assets and Liabilities does not match with the total returns that Temasek and GRC claim to have earned since inception and the revenues earned from the sale of land.


We have repeatedly asked you for an explanation for these discrepancies and to supply the missing information. I therefore have great sympathy with my colleagues in the Workers Party who say that they have been unable to get data from government bodies for an item in the accounts run by the former PAP town council.


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AHPETC – A BATTLE FOR TRANSPARENCY AND IMPROPRIETY


Ng Eng Hen is furious with the poor verdict of Transparency International on how his ministry spent money on the purchase of weapons. TI ranked Singapore together with Afghanistan and Iraq, in another word, our integrity in procurement is at the same level at these 3rd World countries, or at least in the Defence Ministry. The implications of such a rating are very serious, and many times more serious than the audit report of AHPETC.


Khaw Boon Wan had written a letter to Tharman to instruct the Auditor General to conduct an audit on AHPETC’s account quoting a Disclaimer of Opinion from its auditor, implying serious issues in the town council’s financial and accounting system. The Auditor General will now have to comb through AHPETC’s books to verify on all the misgivings and non compliance of Town Council’s regulations.


What we are seeing is the PAP wanting to set a very high standard of accountability and transparency for all town councils. And all town councils will be judged using the same standard of accountability, nothing less. On the other hand many critics are crying foul, that this is another political scam of the PAP to run down its political enemies, probably getting them disqualified from the next GE or, if serious enough, could see some of them behind bars. If this is indeed a political ploy, one can expect the PAP to extract the full mileage possible with the timing of the findings, the penalties and punishment, to ensure the WP suffers untold damage that it would become a lame duck when the GE is called.


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More than 10 years of omissions in financial statements submissions by PA

More than 10 years of financial omissions by People’s Association in its reports

The People’s Association (PA) has had the ratings of “adverse opinion” given to its annual audits by its auditors for the years 2008 to 2011, reported website TRE Emeritus.

Adverse opinionA professional opinion made by an auditor indicating that a company’s financial statements are misrepresented, misstated, and do not accurately reflect its financial performance and health. Adverse opinions are usually given after an auditor’s report, which can be internal or independent of the company
However, The Online Citizen has viewed the annual reports of the People’s Association (PA), from the years of 2001 to 2010. In all these years, the PA’s auditors made some observations and noted that the financial statements of related organizations of the PA had omitted providing financial statements to the auditors.

related:
Low Thia Khiang’s question in 2008 on PA’s “adverse” accounts rating
PA clarifies on “adverse opinion” in financial statements since 2008
Town councils and the State – same old repertoire, or a new direction?
Secretary-General of Workers’ Party “Welcomes” the Audit
AGC must act fairly to address Straits Times’ Contempt of Court

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PA responds to online reports on its accounts


The People’s Association (PA) on Thursday night responded to reports that independent auditors had raised concerns about its financial statements for four years, after stories about this began to circulate online.


It acknowledged that auditors had submitted an “adverse opinion” on its accounts from 2008 to 2011 because the financial statements of grassroots organisations under its charge were not included.


It said the matter had been raised in Parliament in 2008 and it had explained then its view that the funds in those accounts belonged to the grassroots organisations, which were operationally self-funding.


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Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council to contest unlicensed trade fair charge

The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) is contesting an allegation by the National Environment Agency (NEA) that it held an unlicensed trade fair at the Hougang Central Hub.

This comes after NEA applied for a court summons to be issued last month.

The charge states that AHPETC had failed to obtain a permit from the Director-General of Public Health before organising the fair.


WP Town Council claims trial over unlicensed fair allegations
Statement from Workers’ Party chairman, Sylvia Lim

“Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council is facing a summons from NEA in relation to this Lunar New Year Community and Floral Fair that we held recently at the Hougang Central Park.”

“So today was the first mention and through our lawyers we told the court that we intend to claim trial to the charge, and we intend to mount a defence and seek justice from the court.”
“I would also like to clarify that the lawyers we have hired are from the same firm that I am associated with.” “But, we will not be touching any town council’s funds to mount this defence. We will be raising funds from elsewhere.”
“Neither me nor any Workers’ Party members will have any share in any fees that are paid to the law firm.”
AHPETC gets court summons after organising community fair
The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) said it received a summons on Thursday to attend court in relation to the Lunar New Year Flora and Community Fair held at Hougang Central Hub.

The town council said it had contacted the National Environment Agency about its intention to run the event since December 20, 2013, with the nature of the community fair and the benefit to residents clearly stated. The event started on January 10 this year.


The town council said NEA has also issued notices to vendors at the trade fair, who are required to either attend court or pay fines.


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LUNAR NEW YEAR FLORA AND COMMUNITY FAIR AT HOUGANG CENTRAL HUB


The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council has today received a summons to attend court in relation to the Lunar New Year Flora and Community Fair held at Hougang Central Hub, a venue under its management.

The TC had initiated communications with the National Environment Agency (NEA) over its intention to run the event since 20 December 2013, with the nature of the community fair and the benefit to residents clearly stated. The event commenced on 10 January 2014.

In addition to summons against the TC as the organizer of the fair, the NEA has also issued notices to attend court and to pay fines to residents and their family members assisting there on 28, 29 and 30 January 2014.

related:
NEA is Contradicting Itself
AHPETC: NEA is Politically Motivated to Tarnish the Image of AHPETC

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PA(P) vs AHPETC: Round 2


– Singapore Notes: Follow The Money
– Blogging for Myself: People’s Association Awful Accounts
– Reflections on Change: AHPETC Lessons For Opposition Parties

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