Acra investigating SingPost for possible Companies Act breaches

Acra investigating SingPost for possible Companies Act breaches
SingPost building in Paya Lebar.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Corporate watchdog Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) has launched an investigation into possible breaches of the Companies Act by Singapore Post (SingPost).

In a Singapore Exchange filing this morning (May 19), SingPost said ACRA told SingPost on May 18 to submit the joint special audit report on its corporate governance dated May 3, reported The Straits Times.

It said Acra was starting investigations into possible breaches of the Companies Act as highlighted in the report. SingPost had released only a summary of the report to the public.

The audit report emerged in the firm's long-drawn corporate governance saga after SingPost announced in July 2014 that none of its directors had an interest in the acquisition of freight forwarding firm FS Mackenzie (FSM).

It was discovered that the then-SingPost director Keith Tay was the non-executive chairman and 34.5 per cent shareholder in corporate finance advisory firm Stirling Coleman, which was advising the seller in the FSM transaction.

In an executive summary of the special audit report that was released on May 3, auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Drew & Napier said that the error was due to the carelessness on the part of SingPost staff and there was "no deliberate intention" to hide Mr Tay's interest in the acquisition of FSM, reported The Business Times.

It was Mr Tay himself who pointed out to SingPost the error after the announcement was released on July 18, 2014 on the Singapore Exchange (SGX.

SGX told AsiaOne today that it will refer "potential breaches" to the authorities.

June Sim, Head of Listing Compliance, SGX, said: "SGX will refer potential breaches of regulations to the relevant authorities and has referred this matter to Acra.

"To provide assurance to investors and SGX, SGX has directed SingPost to obtain independent confirmation on the implementations of the recommendations by the Joint Special Auditors. SingPost will implement the recommendations together with the outcome of the Corporate Governance review. "

She added that SGX is reviewing the findings of the joint special auditors and "will determine the appropriate course of action".

"Any regulatory action to be taken against the relevant persons will have to be proportionate to the listing rule breach," she said.

Related: Director in SingPost saga steps down

chenj@sph.com.sg

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