Pokka ex-CEO and husband of former brand face Vivian Lai fined $15k for not declaring links to another drinks company

Ong Eng Sing pleaded guilty to three charges under the Companies Act.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

As the former chief executive of beverage company Pokka International, Ong Eng Sing had to declare his partial ownership of a drinks company when the two companies entered into a transaction.

But he did not, and on Monday (Aug 22), the 47-year-old Singaporean was fined $15,000 after pleading guilty to three charges under the Companies Act.

He was also disqualified from acting as a director or taking part in the management of a company for two years.

It was previously reported that Ong, whose wife, actress Vivian Lai, used to appear in Pokka advertisements, was asked to leave Pokka International, which is wholly owned by Pokka Corporation (Singapore), in September 2018.

Between 2010 and 2017, he held various positions in the two Pokka entities, including director of both entities, while beneficially owning 40 per cent of shares in drinks company Asian Story Corporation (ASC).

The two Pokka entities entered into three agreements with ASC - a distribution agreement in 2010 and a distribution framework in 2017 with Pokka International, and a manufacturing agreement in 2016 with Pokka Corp.

On all three occasions, Ong did not disclose his interest in these transactions to Pokka International or Pokka Corp.

According to a previous report, Pokka sued Ong, accusing him of working with others to divert business to ASC and inflating the value of ASC in anticipation of its acquisition by Kimly, alleging that he had breached his duties as a director and employee.

The $10 million lawsuit was settled out of court in April last year, but details were not revealed.

For each offence under the Companies Act, Ong could have been jailed for up to 12 months or fined up to $5,000.

ALSO READ: Vivian Lai's husband and ex Pokka CEO Alain Ong charged with disclosure offences, together with former Kimly directors

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.