AHTC has not resolved audit points since last progress report, says KPMG

The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) had not resolved any audit points since its October report, said its accountant KPMG.
The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) had not resolved any audit points since its October report, said its accountant KPMG.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) failed to resolve outstanding financial and governance issues in the past month, in the third month that it has not made progress in addressing the problems flagged in past audits.

Its accountant, KPMG, said in a November progress report that the town council had not resolved any audit points since its October report.

While Workers' Party-run town council 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 there were also shortcomings in some of the measures put in place.

As a result, they were not enough to bring the town council in line with the Town Councils Act, said KPMG, which was appointed by AHTC to look into its books following significant lapses found by the Auditor-General's Office in a special audit.

In its October and September progress reports, KPMG had also said that no audit points were resolved by AHTC in the preceding months.

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

In a statement on Wednesday (Nov 16), AHTC chairman Pritam Singh, who is an Aljunied GRC MP, said the town council had submitted the latest progress report to the Housing Board. AHTC also released the report on its website.

KPMG also gave an update on the 71 control failures it found at the town council, which cover key areas including governance and financial control. Of these, 23 have been successfully addressed by the town council.

An extensive report by KPMG, released by AHTC on Nov 1, determined that some $6.9 million in past payments made by the town council were improper. These include overpayments and payments without proper certification of work being done, among other things.

The authorities have asked AHTC to take steps to recover the money, with HDB sending the town council a letter to ask if it will appoint a suitable third party "to recover the monies which have been lost".

The Straits Times understands that AHTC has agreed to appoint a third party to recover the money.