AHPETC denies intentionally delaying response to arrears issue

People outside the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) at Hougang Central on 13 February 2014.

SINGAPORE - The Aljnied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) has denied claims by Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee that it had yet to respond on the state of its finances.

It was previously reported that AHPETC had been red flagged in the Ministry of National Development's (MND) Town Council Management Report in two areas: service and consultancy charge (S&CC) arrears and corporate governance.

According to Channel NewsAsia, Mr Lee said on Friday that the key issue in the poor performance of AHPETC is accountability and transparency, and that the WP had not explained its "serious financial mismanagement" and rising S&CC arrears.

Mr Lee added that AHPETC had launched a "coordinated online campaign to distract the public, using falsehoods, half-truths and speculations, by friends, sympathisers and proxies."

In a statement on Saturday, AHPETC vice-chairmen Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Png Eng Huat denied that they had "obfuscated or intentially delayed in responding to the matters raised by MOS Lee".

They re-affirmed that the town council was looking into the S&CC arrears data, and would respond to queries on the financial situation "in due course".

Mr Singh and Mr Png also expressed surprise at Mr Lee's framing of the matter as a transparency and accountability issue.

"The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) has been auditing AHPETC's accounts, and we believe that MND will make the AGO report public in its entirety when the audit ends," the statement said.