Earlier in March 2016, WP appointed KPMG as their accountants to look into the books of the Aljunie-Hougang Town Council (AHTC). WP MP and AHTC Chairman Pritam Singh said then that KPMG was the most suitable and was capable of performing an independent and objective review.
In a report released yesterday, KPMG found yet more problems with AHTC.
WP issued a press release yesterday as well, stating that they accepted all of KPMG’s recommendations in full, and will immediately lead an exercise to review key areas.
Once again, WP says that they will fix it.
But this is not first time they’ve made this promise; every time an auditor finds something, WP will always put their hands up, accept the findings and say they will fix it. Yet every time a new auditor comes in, the new auditor will somehow find more problems.
KPMG is AHTC’s fourth auditor so far.
(Kon Tan Grant Thornton, Auditor-General Office, Pricewater Cooperhouse, KPMG)
But can WP really fix these problems?
KPMG’s report found that AHTC’s problems are extensive and systematic, and they assessed that WP need at least 18 months to remedy the “pervasive lapses”.
KPMG found that AHTC’s problems cut across “the key areas of governance, financial control, financial reporting, procurement and records management over the course of five years.”
For instance, KPMG flagged the “extensive use of manual journal entries in AHTC’s payments to third parties totaling more than $60million, which meant that these transactions bypassed the accounting system that finance departments use to oversee movement of money – effective oversight of transactions is thus “practically impossible” said KPMG.
KPMG said that AHTC’s problems can only be fixed if the upper management “set the right tone at the top”.
But can WP do it? Maybe they can, if they spend their time and effort on fixing their own problems – real problems that actually affect the lives of Aljunied GRC residents – instead of going on and on about issues such as priority clearance for 1 out of 20 buses at the immigration checkpoint.
According to KPMG, AHTC said that they aimed to “substantially complete the Remediation Plans in 15 months”.
Let’s hope that WP will be able to live up to their own targets, and ownself check ownself.