Accountants for WP-run AHTC submit report

The newly-appointed accountants for the town council run by the Workers' Party (WP) have submitted their first report on its accounts to the Housing Board.

They did so yesterday and the HDB said last night it will be reviewing the report. It, however, did not give any details of the content. The WP did not respond to media queries on the the report by press time.

The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) hired a team of accountants from KPMG last month to look into its books.

This followed a Court of Appeal order in January that the town council appoint a Big Four accounting firm to help establish whether any past payments it made were improper and if money should be recovered, among other things.

The apex court also directed the accountants to submit monthly progress reports to HDB, the first of which was made yesterday.

The Ministry of National Development said on Thursday that AHTC will be receiving the long- awaited government grants as it is satisfied that safeguards are in place to ensure the proper use of the money.

AHTC will get $12.9 million, while another $1.8 million will go to Punggol East constituency, which was previously part of the WP's Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC).

The $1.8 million will be transferred to the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, which is now managing Punggol East after the People's Action Party won the constituency in last year's general election.

The ministry had withheld the grants due to lapses in financial governance in the former AHPETC identified by its own auditors and a special Auditor- General's Office report made public last year.

The ministry and HDB subsequently applied to the courts to appoint independent accountants to inspect the town council's books and rectify the lapses.

After months of disagreements, the Court of Appeal ordered AHTC to select one of the Big Four accounting firms to do the work.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'Accountants for WP-run AHTC submit report'. Print Edition | Subscribe