WP did not give ‘free rein’ to FMSS: Lawyer
Day 4 of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council civil suit
he added, was among his key concerns when his firm was tasked to look into AHTC’s books after the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) found significant governance lapses in a special audit.
Mr Rajah also sought to establish, referencing various e-mails, that the WP town councillors had indeed checked all the expenses they were signing off on, and had not approved them blindly.
He pointed out, among other things, that then-AHTC chairman Sylvia Lim had highlighted FMSS’ proposal to spend $11 million on lift maintenance and repairs, noting that the town council “could not afford” to spend that amount yearly.
But, Mr Hawkes said she was merely turning down items that were not applicable, adding that the correspondence took place in June 2015, after the AGO report was out.
“So, maybe there is more sensitivity to the issue at this point,” he said.
Mr Rajah also took issue with KPMG’s suggestion that AHTC resolves its conflict of interest issue by getting an independent member of the town council to approve payments at each stage. This was not practical as it would require a lot of time, he added.
Mr Hawkes replied: “It would be additional work, I agree. But additional conflicts require additional controls... Otherwise, you are effectively having your cake and eating it.”
The case continues today.
WP’s lawyer, Mr Chelva Rajah (left), argued that WP town councillors had a proper SOP in place to manage the alleged conflict of interest, but KPMG executive director Owen Hawkes (right) said the SOP appeared to be just a proposal.