People are interested in national issues, not just town council matters, Sylvia Lim says (TOC). Well the need for a town council to have an accounting system that is fit for purpose is also a national issue. OK I exaggerate. It’s an issue at least in areas where the WP is contesting, is a fairer statement.
Auntie Lim*, Gilbert Goh**, TOC (As SPH and MediaCorp are to the PAP, so TOC** is to the WP) and TRE are trying to equate the lapses at PA and other government entities and departments identified by the Auditor-General with that of the the lapses at AHPETC identified by the Auditor-General.
The big difference is that the while the Auditor-General says nasty things about the way the govt bodies like the PA does things, he doesn’t say that they don’t have an accounting system that is not fit for purpose. He is able to pick out lapses in the PA and other govt bodies because they have proper accounting systems. The accounting systems allow the lapses to be noticed.
But he says that the AHPETC accounting system sucks so badly that no proper records are kept.
The Auditor-General pointed out, inter alia, that AHPTEC did not “a system to monitor arrears of conservancy and service charges accurately and hence there is no assurance that arrears are properly managed”.and “No proper system to ensure … proper accounts and records were kept as required by the Town Councils Act.” (Related post https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/conflicts-of-interest-what-conflicts/
Because proper records are not kept, no-one knows if there are irregularities. There may be none but there may be some or many: who knows? And what if there are major irregularities?
The way things are going, only a PAP win in Aljunied will ensure that the truth comes out on whether anything is wrong. WP is dragging its feet on setting the system right. It is moving to the Bishan/ Toa Payoh model of directly managing the cleaning etc, which will allow it to say it has “moved on” without resolving the issue of irregular accounts.
Someone posted this analysis on Facebook
Having read the full report, the responses by APHTEC and AGO and PWC’s responses I would say the following.
1. That management and supervision for the first two years were sorely lacking , to the extent that corporate governance is needed , FMSS and FMSI was allowed both management powers, payment powers without supervision.
2. Whether current WP members accept it or not. There is a difference between Management Companies appointing their own people to the TC as GM’s when the management companies are owned by the GOV or GLCs and hence there is no direct pecuniary interests and when in the case of FMSS everything is owned and attributed to Miss How and her Husband and there is a direct pecuniary interests.
3. I could accept the need to appoint FMSS. I cannot accept the need to appoint FMIS whereby the shareholders were both the deputy GMS for lift EMS services. To the extent that there are only a few TC management companies and they refused to help , can the same be said of lift management companies ?
4. To an extent the problem can be laid at the head of the Sec Gen and Low. The people under his leadership trusted low and low I believe trusted miss how.
5. The trust was built over her management of the TC in Hougang for many years and it just seems that when faced with the problem of integrating seven town councils which in itself will be the largest town council in SINGAPORE, she lacked both the management and accounting expertise necessary to integrate all the bits and pieces.
6. FMSS at the end of the day seems to have bitten of more than they could handle, likewise FMSS was not adequately supervised by all the MPs and the leadership within the party for whatever reason.
He could have added, but didn’t, that the WP TC Chair and Vice are lawyers, albeit one was from SMU law school. And there is another MP that is a lawyer, a former partner is a top US law firm. Btw, one, M Ravi called these lawyers three,”cow dung” in another context.
One wonders why they didn’t draw up better conflict of interest mgt rules for the TC’s consideration. And if they did, why were these not implemented? Because Low trusted the Ms How?
Let’s be very clear, the PAP administration didn’t bully or fix the WP on this issue of bad record keeping. This was self-inflicted.The managing agent bears a lot of responsibility for the state of affairs. It didn’t keep proper records of who it was paying, and for what purpose. The AHPETC failed in its duty to monitor what the managing agent was doing.
The inability of the AHPETC to keep proper records is now personal.
I now live in Marine Parade GRC (Joo Chiat kanna rezoned). I’ve voted for the WP since I was able to vote (bicyle thieves, an ex-Woodbridge patient) because I believe that a one-party state is bad for S’pore; but do I want to live in a GRC managed by the WP, a party that couldn’t keep proper records, and is in denial over this fact? And which throws smoke on the issue. It can’t bluff me because I was a Hon Treasurer of a club https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/ahpetc-sadly-pap-ib-gets-it-right/.
And I’m not alone: the neighbours (they are accountants, lawyers etc), and the really real Marine Parade residents I talk to, are wondering if the bad record keeping will continue. We know WP can keep the area clean and tidy, but can it keep proper financial records? https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/pap-wp-dont-do-accouting/
*Ms Sylvia Lim says the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), has been singled out for “exemplary treatment” by the government.
She also called on the govt to “act with similar vigour, by withholding grants and commencing legal proceedings”, against gov’t depts and stat boards which have been found with financial irregularities in the Auditor-General’s Report.
Ms Lim made the call in her court affidavit on the hearing on the MND’s application on Monday.
**A statement seeking support from the public has been posted online as a petition calling for the government to investigate fully the recent slew of financial and accounting irregularities unearthed in the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) Report.
“We… hope our government will investigate thoroughly the AGO audit lapses and come up with a official statement to address the concerns of the people,” the statement, posted on change.org, said.
“The lapses are both glaring and shocking as Singaporeans have all along place their trust in a government that has enjoyed above-board corruption-free governance for a very long time,” the statement by Gilbert Goh said.
***TOC has again banned my Facebook avatar from commenting on TOC’s Facebook posts. It’s TOC’s right. But so like the PAP. But then WP is nothing more than PAP Lite and TOC is its poodle. And let’s see if a TOC founder stands as a WP candidate this GE.