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Sengkang Town Council appoints independent panel to make decisions regarding Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council court appeals

Sengkang Town Council appoints independent panel to make decisions regarding Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council court appeals

File photo of the Supreme Court which is made up of the Court of Appeal and the High Court.

SINGAPORE: Sengkang Town Council (SKTC) has appointed an independent panel to handle matters relating to pending court appeals involving Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC), SKTC said on Tuesday (Sep 8).

This comes ahead of an upcoming transfer of all assets and liabilities of PRPTC relating to the area of Pasir Ris-Punggol that is now part of Sengkang GRC.

The Workers' Party-run SKTC on Saturday appointed senior counsels Kenneth Tan and Lok Vi Ming, as well as law adjunct professor Kevin Tan, to exercise its powers to make all decisions relating to the appeals, the town council said on Facebook.

"The independent panel will at all times act independently and impartially in the best interests of SKTC. The members have also agreed to receive no remuneration for their services," it said.

Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh, chairman Sylvia Lim and former chief Low Thia Khiang were found liable by a judge last October in a landmark case investigating misuse of town council funds, in a lawsuit brought by PRPTC and Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).

The defendants filed an appeal in November and a hearing has been fixed in the Court of Appeals for Sep 18.

READ: Judge dismisses parts of AHTC's bid to amend claims against WP leaders in multimillion-dollar lawsuit

READ: AHTC case - What you need to know about the High Court judgment

SKTC said the appointment of an independent panel furthers its previous public statement that the town council is "fully committed to ensuring that all decisions taken in relation to the management of the appeals are fair, transparent and in accordance with the law".

It also expressed its "deep appreciation and gratitude" to the three panelists for agreeing to take up their appointments.

READ: Workers’ Party says it has asked to meet existing town councils to discuss handover in Sengkang GRC

Following the Workers' Party's victory in Sengkang in the 2020 General Election, assets and liabilities relating to the area under PRPTC which had been absorbed into Sengkang GRC will be transferred to SKTC on Oct 28, including relevant legal proceedings.

Previously, PRPTC took over control of Punggol East from Workers' Party-run AHTC, when the constituency was won by the People's Action Party in the 2015 General Election.

The ward was then carved out to form the new Sengkang GRC in the 2020 General Election, together with the former Punggol East SMC, part of Sengkang West SMC and the Sengkang Central division of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

2 SENIOR COUNSELS AND PUBLIC LAW SCHOLAR

Mr Tan is a founding partner at Kenneth Tan Partnership and was among the first batch of senior counsels appointed in 1997. He graduated with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 1983.

Mr Lok - also a senior counsel - is a managing director at LVM Law Chambers, which he formed. He served as president of the Law Society of Singapore in 2013 and 2014.

Dr Tan is an adjunct professor at the NUS law faculty as well as Nanyang Technological University's S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and a "noted public law scholar", said SKTC.

Under its terms of reference, members of the panel will not be remunerated by SKTC but may be reimbursed for expenses relating to its work, including payments for legal advisers or other experts as well as a secretary if required.

The terms also state that decisions made by the panel will be determined by a majority of votes by the three members, who are prohibited from abstaining, except where there is "an irreconcilable conflict of interest" that cannot be resolved beforehand.

Source: CNA/jt(nc)
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