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Auditors unable to provide audit opinion on AHPETC's financial statements

The Ministry of National Development (MND) has flagged its concerns over the latest financial statements of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) for the financial year ended March 31, 2013.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of National Development (MND) has flagged its concerns over the latest financial statements of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) for the financial year ended March 31, 2013.

The independent auditors -- Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton -- engaged by AHPETC said in a report that the town council had not complied with the provisions of the Town Councils Act and the Town Councils Financial Rules.

The town council, run by the Workers' Party, had submitted its statements on Monday, nearly six months late and after seven reminders.

All town councils had been required to submit their financial statements by August 31, 2013.

The auditors also made what's described as a "Disclaimer of Opinion", which means they were unable to express an opinion on the financial position of the town council due to insufficient evidence.

Disclaimers of Opinion are issued by auditors when they refuse to sign off on financial statements completely, due to lack of information.

In the case of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council, the auditors listed 13 points in its disclaimer.

A key area highlighted was related party transactions.

The independent auditors said the town council had not made available details of project management service fees paid to a related party.

The town council had said in its financial statements that it had appointed FM Solutions and Services as its Managing Agent after the 2011 General Election.

The managing director of the company, Mr Danny Loh, is also the secretary of the town council.

Mr Loh’s wife, Ms How Weng Fan, is a director of the company and also acted as the town council's general manager.

The company had been paid a management agent fee of some S$5.3 million.

Related party transactions refer to those where the town council’s key management personnel have a personal financial interest.

Among the other areas cited in the auditors' report were the town council's opening balances, lift repair balances and lift upgrading expenses.

The auditor also noted that the town council had not transferred monies into its Sinking Funds as was required under the Town Councils Financial Rules.

There were also questions over the validity of receipts collected.

The auditors said they were unable to determine the validity and accuracy of various items in the town council's accounts, including receivables of some S$1.8 million, lift repair and lift upgrading expenses of some S$20 million, and temporary unidentified receipts from residents and the HDB of about S$308,000.

Other items included advance receipts from residents in respect of conservancy and service charges of some S$507,000.

There were also unidentified differences of GST payable of some S$518,000 and unreconciled differences of some S$63,000 in cash and bank balances.

The town council had also received nearly S$521,000 from the Citizens Consultative Committee but the receipts could not be identified and matched to other records.

The auditors also said AHPETC had not made available to the auditors its latest management accounts and records of minutes subsequent to the financial year-end, to allow the auditors to ascertain whether AHPETC's financial statements properly reflected adjustments or disclosures needed in light of relevant subsequent events.

The Ministry of National Development noted that the financial statements had only been submitted after seven reminders, and that this was the second year the town council's auditors have submitted a disclaimer of opinion on its accounts.

The ministry said in a statement that this is a "cause for concern".

The independent auditors have submitted their report to the Auditor-General as required under the law. 

MND press statement on AHPETC's FY2012 audited financial statements (PDF 190.44KB)

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