AGO report: About $13.9m in tolls at land checkpoints under-collected due to LTA's weak controls

The early morning peak hour jam going towards the Singapore side of the Causeway at the Woodlands checkpoint.
The early morning peak hour jam going towards the Singapore side of the Causeway at the Woodlands checkpoint.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) revealed in its annual report on Tuesday (July 26) that the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) weak controls over the collection of tolls at the two land checkpoints could have resulted in a potential loss of revenue.

About $13.93 million was estimated to have been under-collected from the Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints in the financial year 2014/2015, the report said.

This represents 21.9 per cent of the total toll of $63.54 million that the LTA collected on behalf of the Government in that financial year.

The AGO said that during its audit, it observed the lack of an effective system at immigration booths to ensure vehicles were allowed to pass through only after the toll was paid.

"While LTA had put in place certain measures to detect non-payment of fees, AGO noted that these measures were ineffective as vehicles could slip through without paying the requisite fees," the report said.

 
 

LTA was in agreement that there was a need to review the controls and enforcement over revenue collection at both checkpoints.

It has informed the AGO that it had and would continue to work with the relevant authorities to enhance the system and "address the gaps in controls".

Undue delay in finalising agreement with SMRT for Circle Line

In a separate finding, the AGO said LTA had yet to enter into a Lease and Maintenance Agreement (LMA) on non-rail facilities and assets for the Circle Line (CCL). This, despite the CCL's operator - SMRT - having been granted the licence from May 2009.

At the time of the AGO's audit in November 2015, LTA still had not finalised the terms and conditions even though SMRT was required to enter into an LMA within 180 days after the effective date of the licence.

The LMA contains information on the list of the land and stations handed over, the lease term, yearly rent and other payment requirements such as property tax, as well as the requirements on the maintenance of these non-rail assets.

"Without a formal agreement, there might be difficulty in enforcing the terms and conditions intended for the lease of the non-rail facilities," the report noted.

As a result of this lapse, LTA had not recovered an estimated $960,000 in property tax from SMRT for the CCL stations handed over.

In its explanation, LTA said the LMA's finalisation was interrupted by a number of events which resulted in a suspension of the negotiation between both parties.

It informed the AGO that it has since signed the LMA with SMRT on April 26 this year and has also recovered the outstanding property tax of $1.13 million in March.