WP Councillors Welcome Public Scrutiny over AHTC Court Challenge

“I don’t think Singaporeans have lost faith in us”, said Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang during a media interview earlier tonight.

Together with AHTC chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Pritam Singh, he is facing a lawsuit by the independent panel appointed to represent AHTC, which alleges that the WP trio breached their duty of care and allowed improper payments to be made from the town council to its managing agent FMSS.

AHTC’s independent panel wants to recover millions of dollars for the town council from them, other WP members involved and FMSS.

A pre-trial conference has been set for 31 Aug.

But WP councillors are keeping the faith.

And, they have welcomed the public to scrutinise their defence in court.

Said Pritam Singh:

“I see the court case as an opportunity for us to put our side of the story out there… We hope that the residents of Aljunied will also have the opportunity to look at the defence quite closely.”

Mr Singh added that “It is my firm conviction that we acted in good faith and we are not in politics for the purpose of enriching ourselves.”

Sylvia Lim stated that the WP councillors “reject the allegation that these payments were unlawful or wrong and that they “welcome this opportunity to go into detail to explain to the court and to the public why we made certain decisions at that point in time.”

The AHTC saga erupted ahead of the 2015 General Election, and WP chief Low Thia Khiang believes that the situation now is somewhat better than it was then.

“It was worse than this during the election (2015 election). MND, or HDB, was coming out with averse statements during the election and the PAP brought the issue to the ground, distributed pamphlets door-to-door, but we are prepared to be judged by the people.”

The independent panel is taking legal action on behalf of AHTC to recover improper payments made from town council funds.

It is seeking to claiming S$622,593.78 in liquidated claims from multiple parties, as well as S$4,167,501.71 in unliquidated claims.

In a report last year, audit firm KPMG found that governance lapses at AHTC between 2011 and 2015 had put public funds running into millions of dollars at risk of improper use.

Some of the improper payments to AHTC’s then managing agent FMSS.

Ms How and her late husband, Mr Danny Loh, were owners of FMSS and held key management and financial control positions in the town council at the same time.

The KPMG report said that this meant they effectively approved and made payments to themselves when they paid FMSS.

In a statement this afternoon, the WP councillors denied all the allegations and maintain that they have acted in good faith.



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