Police say investigation into Data Register is ongoing

Police say investigation into Data Register is ongoing

SINGAPORE - Police issued an update today on the investigation into Data Register Pte Ltd. They said they have received numerous enquiries on the status of the investigation.

The police said that the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) launched an investigation into Data Register on Jan 23. CAD had also seized monies in Data Register's bank account.

"The Courts will decide how the seized monies are dealt with after the conclusion of CAD's investigation," they said.

They said that the investigation is "ongoing".

sinsh@sph.com.sg

Singapore firm under probe

Benjamin Lim
The New Paper
Monday, Jan 27, 2014

When Mr Rakesh Rai received a letter last month bearing the lion head symbol, usually associated with letters from government agencies, he thought it was an official letter and did not suspect anything.

The letter had his personal information, including his NRIC number and business registration number, and instructed him to verify his business details on a website called companyregister.sg

But Mr Rakesh, who runs an IT company, got a rude shock when he received an e-mail this month.

Data Register, the company which had sent him the letter last month, charged him $490 for online features offered on its website, including advertising and Web portal services.

He was not expecting to pay for something which he thought was affiliated with a government service.

Mr Rakesh sent an e-mail to Data Register requesting a waiver of the fee, as he was neither informed beforehand nor was he interested in the services offered. Data Register replied, insisting that he had agreed to the "terms and conditions by logging into the website".

"We can terminate your account if you wish, in this case the account will be deleted on Dec 31, 2014 at the latest, and you can avoid the 2015 annual fee," it stated in the e-mail to Mr Rakesh.

Terms of use

When The New Paper checked, the terms of use did not include any mention of the annual fee.

Since November last year, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) said it received more than two thousand queries about Data Register.

It said it issued public alerts on Nov 14 last year (when it was known as Singapore Company Register) and Jan 16 on Data Register Pte Ltd. It said then it had no links to this company, and "under normal circumstances it does not seek payment via e-mail or letter".

The Commercial Affairs Department said it is investigating the matter.

Acra said it has brought 78 charges against the company for offences committed under the Companies Act. Data Register had failed to display the company name and registration number in its correspondences with companies in November last year, it said.

The company is charged with multiple breaches of section 144 of the Companies Act, and a single breach carries the maximum fine of $1,000. Six similar charges are pending.

The National Heritage Board (NHB) said "any individual, organisation or company can use the lion head symbol for purposes of identifying with the nation".

Singapore companies may use the lion head symbol as a means of identifying themselves with Singapore, but it should not be used to indicate any kind of official endorsement of the companies' products or services. They added that the symbol should be "used in good taste and treated with dignity and respect".

The NHB confirmed that it had previously approved the use of the lion head symbol by Data Register, but revoked the company's right last week after receiving complaints from members of the public.

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