Acra brings charges against Data Register for misleading companies into giving info

Companies that need to update their records with the authorities should do so through ACRA's online filing and information retrieval system, BizFile.

SINGAPORE - The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) has brought 78 charges against the company known as Data Register Pte Ltd for offences committed under the Companies Act.

The company - previously known as Company Register Pte Ltd - is being charged for failing to display the company name and registration number in its correspondences with companies in November 2013, hence allegedly misleading other companies into thinking that it was linked to the authority.

Six similar charges are pending issuance on Monday.

A single breach of section 144 of the Companies carries a maximum fine of S$1,000. The purpose of section 144 of the Companies Act is to ensure that the legal identity of every company must be revealed to anyone who has, or may wish to have, dealings with it.

Any member of public can conduct a free search on ACRA's online business directory to check information such as the name, registration number, address and status of any company registered with ACRA.

Since November 2013, ACRA has received over two thousand queries from members of the public in relation to the correspondences they had received from Data Register.

In those correspondences, Data Register requested companies to verify their company details with it through its website. Many members of the public informed ACRA that they had mistakenly assumed that Data Register was linked to ACRA and that they were obliged to provide the requested information.

After Data Register sought payment for subscription services from some companies, ACRA again received queries asking whether such payment had to be made.

ACRA said it issued two public alerts in November last year and January this year stating that ACRA has no links to Data Register.

ACRA also informed the public that companies that need to update their records with the authorities should do so through ACRA's online filing and information retrieval system, BizFile.

Under normal circumstances, ACRA said it will not approach companies to seek payment via emails or letters. Most companies transact with ACRA and make online payments via Bizfile.

ACRA has referred the case to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) for their investigation into the business activities of Data Register.

As the case is now before the courts, members of the public may consider waiting for further developments before making payment, ACRA said.

Members of the public who have unwittingly made payment may wish to seek legal advice, or request for a refund from the company.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES