Low will address town council issues in House

WORKERS' Party chief Low Thia Khiang said last night - the eve of a Parliament sitting that will scrutinise major lapses in governance and compliance in his party's town council financial statements - that he would address the issues raised in the Auditor-General's report in the House.

"I'll say what I want to say in Parliament," he told reporters, when asked to comment on the report on the accounts of Aljunied- Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

He was speaking before his Meet-the-People Session at Block 713 Bedok Reservoir Road.

He is the MP for the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol division of Aljunied GRC.

The Auditor-General's report identified major lapses in five areas.

These include the management of the sinking funds and arrears in service and conservancy charges paid by residents, as well as the governance of related party transactions leading to conflicts of interest.

Among other things, AHPETC failed to manage properly potential conflicts of interest from related party transactions that amounted to $25.9 million and involved its senior staff.

Four of AHPETC's senior officers have stakes in FM Solutions & Services, the town council's managing agent.

They are secretary Danny Loh Chong Meng; general manager How Weng Fan, who is also Mr Loh's wife; and deputy general managers Yeo Soon Fei and Johnson Lieow Chong Sern.

In some instances, they verified work and approved payment on behalf of AHPETC to their own company.

During today's sitting, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan will present for debate a motion calling on Parliament to note "with concern" the report.

The motion will also call for support for the strengthening of laws for town councils, "in order to hold those responsible for their good management to proper account".

The sitting will also cover, among other things, issues such as regulations on the use of drones and the conduct of debt collectors.

Two Bills to ease future planning and development of underground space will be introduced.



This article was first published on Feb 12, 2015.
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