Aljunied-Hougang Town Council appoints KPMG as accountants

Aljunied-Hougang Town Council appoints KPMG as accountants

SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has appointed KPMG to examine its books, after a court order to pick accountants from a Big Four firm.

AHTC was supposed to select a firm from PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young by Feb 5, but it had to appeal to the Court of Appeal for an extension.

"AHTC believes that KPMG is the most suitable firm and is capable of performing an independent and objective review," Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC Mr Pritam Singh said in a statement today (Mar 1).

"The team appointed is expected to put up its first monthly report by 15 April, 2016," he added.

In their Jan 22 ruling, the three-judge apex court stipulated the April 15 deadline for the selected accounting firm to submit its first report to the Housing Development Board (HDB).

Then, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said the accountants' task "should not be underestimated" as they had to make sure a public body was fulfilling its legal obligations, and using its public funds properly, The Straits Times reported.

HDB said in a statement to the Straits Times that KPMG has made conflict disclosures in AHTC's business proposal.

KPMG has proposed safeguards to AHTC to mitigate potential conflict concerns that may arise, as the accounting firm's Managing Partner, Mr Tham Sai Choy, is also a member of the HDB Board.

Mr Tham will recuse himself from any deliberation and decision-making relating to AHTC, and has declared his interest to the HDB Board.

The appointment of KPMG is the latest development after the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) last year highlighted lapses in AHTC's governance and compliance since 2011.

The application to the Court for AHTC to appoint independent accountants to inspect the town council's books was submitted by the National Development Ministry, and later HDB.

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