Waste of taxpayers’ money….
SINGAPORE: The Ministry of National Development (MND) on Friday (Mar 20) applied to the court to appoint Independent Accountants, in order to safeguard Government grants to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC). The move is a first for MND for any town council.
The court documents were served on the town council on Friday.
In June 2014, AHPETC had requested that MND disburse the Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) Operating Grant for FY 2014 “without further delay”, stating that “the continued withholding of the grant to AHPETC is likely to critically and adversely affect the TC’s cash flow position”.
“But before MND does so, there must be adequate safeguards to ensure that AHPETC accounts for and manages these grants properly,” the ministry said in its statement on Friday. “MND has therefore applied to Court to appoint Independent Accountants to safeguard the S&CC grants to be disbursed to AHPETC. If the Court grants the order, MND will be able to disburse the S&CC grants for both FY14 and FY15 to AHPETC.”
The town council will have to keep the grants in segregated accounts, and payments out of these accounts exceeding certain thresholds will have to be co-signed by the Independent Accountants, said the MND. A check of the Originating Summons shows this amount is anything in excess of S$20,000.
The ministry added that is also asking the Court to empower the Independent Accountants to look at past payments made by AHPETC, and to take appropriate action to recover losses suffered by AHPETC and its residents – provided the Independent Accountants obtain the Court’s permission to do so.
However, the Independent Accountants will not take over the operations of AHPETC, nor will they seek to remedy the problems identified by AGO and AHPETC’s auditors, said MND. “These remain the responsibility of AHPETC’s Town Councillors.”
MND said it has proposed that the Court appoint Mr Ong Chao Choon and Mr Chan Kheng Tek from PricewaterhouseCoopers to be Independent Accountants, or any other people the Court deems fit and proper.