Lim: Lapses came out of 'good intentions'

Lim Swee Say, outgoing NTUC secretary-general, during a media session on his views of his roles in the labour movement and on other worker-related issues
PHOTO: The Straits Times

People's Association's deputy chairman Lim Swee Say reassured the House that financial statements and accounting system of the People's Association (PA) and its Grassroots Organisations (GROs) are in order.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Mr Lim said that the lapses found by the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) are not indicative of systemic problems, contrary to suggestions.

He said the PA has consolidated and included all 1,800 grassroots organisations' accounts into the PA's financial statements since FY 2013.

In FY2013 and FY2014, the AGO deemed these accounts to be in order, and public funds properly spent and accounted for. Mr Lim said that PA had learnt from the AGO's report.

Detailing the instances of non-compliance by grassroots organisations, he said that most of these were due to "good intentions" rather than any malicious dishonesty.

He explained how, when a community hospital appealed for help, grassroots volunteers went to a small store and found purifiers for a hospital's non-air-conditioned wards during the 2013 bout of haze, instead of getting three quotes, as required.

"We can fault them for their noncompliance of financial procedures, but please do not doubt them in their passion and commitment in always doing their best for the community."

The Admiralty Citizen's Consultative Committee chairman, who was flagged over conflict-of-interest transactions, has voluntarily resigned.

He had awarded two contracts amounting to $32,000 to a company where he had a senior management position. He also approved seven of his own claims, amounting to $114,767.

Four of these had no supporting documents. One was to provide immediate financial assistance to a grieving family, others were for work retreats, but steps were taken to verify the claims with vendors.

Reiterating that there was no evidence of dishonesty, Mr Lim said: "We have taken swift and decisive action to put things right immediately. When things go wrong, we do not shy away from taking responsibility and tough action to put things in order."

This article was first published on August 19, 2015. Get The New Paper for more stories.