AHTC accounts: Audit points not resolved since last report

KPMG update says town council has made little headway in past month

The Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has not made much headway over the past month in resolving outstanding issues flagged in past audits, said its accountant KPMG on Thursday. The Workers' Party-run town council has resolved 17 of the 71 control failures identified by the accounting firm.

KPMG gave these updates on AHTC's accounts in its sixth report, which the town council put on its website on Thursday. The accounting firm was appointed by AHTC to look into its books following significant lapses in governance found by the Auditor-General's Office in a special audit. Referring to the lapses, KPMG said "no audit points were resolved" in the period since the last progress report last month.

While AHTC has put in place some measures to address these issues, several have not been fully implemented and others have not been tested, said KPMG. It added that some measures were also found lacking. As a result, they were not enough to bring the town council in line with the Town Councils Act, said KPMG.

Since March, AHTC has resolved three of 17 audit points.

In a statement on Thursday, AHTC said it had made "satisfactory progress" in addressing an issue with its temporary clearing accounts, one of the major areas among the 17 audit points.

KPMG had highlighted AHTC's slow progress in this area in its report last month. Of the more than one million transactions in 18 temporary accounts to be cleared, AHTC had cleared only 599 by then.

The town council also said it had completed tests on its service and conservancy charges arrears reports for the months of May to July. This follows a finding by KPMG of programming errors in the systems used to generate the reports.

KPMG also gave an update on the 71 control failures it found, which cover key areas including governance and financial control.

Of these, 17 have been successfully addressed by the town council.

Meanwhile, AHTC also said in its statement that it is working with KPMG to complete a review of past payments by the end of this month.

The town council was to have submitted a report to the Housing Board by the end of last month, but it asked for an extension.

KPMG is reviewing the past payments to determine if any were improper and ought to be recovered.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'AHTC accounts: Audit points not resolved since last report'. Print Edition | Subscribe