WP ministers found guilty
Worker’s Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh, along with party members Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Low Thia Khiang have been found liable for the misuse of public funds from Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC). On 11 October 2019, High Court judge Kannan Ramesh concluded that all three were responsible in appointing FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) as the managing agent for AHTC without calling for a tender. This led to more than $33 million being inappropriately funelled from AHTC to FMSS. Moreover, there was evidence that Ms Lim and Mr Low had tried to cover up the appointment of FMSS through drafting a misleading document with them that would “pass the auditors’ eyes”.
A second round of hearings will also be conducted to determine the amount of the damage suffered by the town council and the required compensation from the MPs.
When did this happen?
During the 2011 elections, the Workers’ Party became the first opposition party to win a Group Representation Constituency (GRC). Instead of initiating a proper tender to appoint another managing agent in place of the incumbent managing agent, CPG, there had been clear attempts to hire FMSS even before the first meeting between CPG and WP on 30 May 2011. Through documentary evidence in emails and meeting minutes, it was found that a decision had been made to stop working with CPG shorting after the May 7 elections. Moreover, an application was filed with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority to incorporate FMSS on 15 May 2011.
In their defence, the MPs have claimed that they were acting in the best interests of Aljunied constituency, in appointing a managing agent as soon as possible. After the news broke out, the public was not surprised by Judge Ramesh’s findings. However, they hoped that the MPs would not be disqualified, but rather given the chance to correct their mistakes and be allowed to run for the elections in the next term.