SINGAPORE- The Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council handed over $22.5 million in cash to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council(AHPETC), said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Sunday (Sept 6).
"Fully accounted for, at that point of time. They raised no issues, so we are very surprised that these issues have suddenly come up. The accounts are all there, there's more than one page to it," he said, speaking to reporters during a walkabout at Rivervale Plaza with Mr Charles Chong, the PAP's candidate for Punggol East.
The $22.5 million is the amount documented in a financial statement as due to AHPETC as part of the transfer of assets and liabilities from Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council. The amount includes sinking funds and project funds.
DPM Teo was addressing Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang's claim during a rally on Saturday (Sept 5) that that the Punggol East ward suffered a deficit of about $282,000 in 2013, before joining Aljunied-Hougang Town Council. Mr Low had also referred to the same financial statement.
"Mr Low very dramatically showed one page of the accounts. There are 20-over pages in the accounts, so we should really look at the whole set of accounts," DPM Teo said.
"If you look at it, what happened is we actually handed over, we were very careful to hand over everything that was due to our residents here," he added.
Earlier in the day, Pasir Ris-Punggol town council chairman Zainal Sapari took to his Facebook page to refute the claims by Mr Low.
He said that there was actually a surplus of about $21,000 after taking into account $303,000 which can be claimed from a government-run community improvement projects fund.
This offsets the deficit of $282,000 shown on the accounts when the Punggol East single-seat ward was carved out of Pasir Ris-Punggol town council after the People's Action Party lost the ward to WP in a by-election in 2013.
DPM Teo also threw the question of where the money has gone back at the WP.
He said: "Now I think the question for AHPETC: You haven't been able to account for these monies in three, four years of operation. Even up till today, the accounts have been qualified, and we don't fully understand what's happened to all our money. So I think that question should really be brought up."
Asked if Mr Low was lying, Mr Chong said: "Probably misguided, I won't go as far as to say lying, although he said I was trying to mislead residents and so on.
"But really, I am not going into this exchange with him, the accounts are all there. I think we will release it, and residents will have to judge for themselves."