SINGAPORE: The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has appointed an independent panel to review the findings of a KPMG report that said the town council had "serious flaws" in governance and made improper payments amounting to millions of dollars to third parties.
AHTC chairman Pritam Singh said in a statement on Friday (Feb 17) that the Workers' Party-run town council has been studying KPMG's Past Payments Report since it was issued on Oct 31, 2016 and "while AHTC’s key officials have a different perspective from the audit team on key aspects of the report, AHTC believes that it is in the interests of AHTC and its residents to appoint an independent panel to review the findings and take such action as deemed appropriate to safeguard AHTC’s interests".
Three people have been appointed to the panel following consultation with the Housing and Development Board (HDB), said AHTC. They are panel chairman Philip Jeyaretnam SC, and members Mr N Sreenivasan SC and Mr Ong Pang Thye (managing partner of KPMG LLP).
"The panel will act independently, without remuneration, and without taking directions from AHTC, HDB or any other party," said Mr Singh.
In a separate statement, HDB said the Court of Appeal gave the green light on the appointment of the panel and its terms of reference on Friday.
It noted that the October KPMG report said the town council’s "failed control environment exposed public funds to the potential for misappropriation and civil or criminal breach of trust, and that the Town Council may potentially look to the Town Councillors for the recovery of losses arising from any breaches of their fiduciary duties".
HDB said the independent panel will consider what recovery actions should be taken following a review of the KPMG findings.