I WAS an investor in Singapore Post and decided to sell my shares at a loss when SingPost announced that it will undergo a special audit.
The issues brought up recently by Mak Yuen Teen and BT (More questions about corporate governance at SingPost; SingPost made 'administrative oversight' in 2014 deal disclosure; BT, Dec 23) are no more complex now than they were when those events occurred. Certainly, they cannot be more complex than determining the value of the three investments. The SingPost board must have also dealt with other more complex matters in the discharge of its duties. There is also a simple rule in finance: When in doubt, disclose.
Out of the 12 directors comprising the SingPost board, eight are independent. Therefore there should be enough independent thinking in the board. Going by the qualifications of the directors and the functions they serve, it is not unreasonable for a shareholder to expect that with their calibre, the issues can be easily dealt with by the board. What are the special auditors supposed to do? Give an independent opinion to eight independent opinions? There is no need to waste time and money on a special audit. At the heart of it, these are simple matters of right and wrong.
It becomes a matter of bewilderment as to how SingPost has (or hasn't) become wiser after the experience it had with Accord Customer Care Solutions 10 years ago.
Tng Kim Bock
This article was first published on December 30, 2015.
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