Over the previous two days, AHPETC and MND have been battling in court over the appointment of independent accountants to oversee government grants dispersed to AHPETC. The case has several interesting submissions from the two sides. Here’s our look at some of the big pointers of the case so far.
1) The case is “wholly unnecessary”
The first shot fired in the legal battle can be attributed to Town Council Chairman Sylvia Lim, who stated that the entire court case is “wholly unnecessary” and they would be mounting a “vigorous defence”. She did not elaborate further on this and said she did not think it was appropriate to make any comments because the case is before the courts.
2) Not a “legal dispute”
The government’s lawyers came right back, stating that AHPETC “mischaracterised” MND’s actions by calling it a “legal dispute” between the PAP and the WP. Instead, they stated that this was about the “obligations of a statutory body holding funds”.
3) Even if the Town Council mismanages or misspends money, there is nothing anyone can do until the next elections
An interesting argument made by the AHPETC’s lawyer Peter Low was that even if the Town Council mismanages or misspends money, there is nothing anyone can do. Only the voters can choose to vote them out at the following elections. This meant that even if your lifts no longer functioned and nothing works, residents have to live with it until the next election.
4) AHPETC does not have sufficient funds to last past June 2015
It was revealed that Ms Sylvia Lim had indicated at a closed-door court hearing that the town council had sufficient funds for “the next three months” until June 2015. And the sufficiency of funds was “premised on them not making sinking fund transfers” (which is against the law btw). Essentially, this could mean that mean that the town council is technically insolvent.
5) Big Four accounting firm PwC is allegedly “biased”
Lawyer Peter Low stated that the Town Council would object to PwC being appointed as independent accountants if the court granted the application by MND. They stated that it could give rise to possible bias as the PwC had already made findings in the AGO’s report that it was “not fully satisfied” with the validity and propriety of the town council’s transactions with its managing agent.
Court has adjourned to a later day with judgement reserved. Well, that leaves us with much to think about with some surprising statements being made over the two day court hearing. There are probably a few ways of looking at the entire case. While some netters speculate that this is part of the PAP’s preparation for elections, one must also question how AHPETC got themselves into this mess and provided the PAP with the ammunition in the first place.
Top photo from Straits Times