Flood 'losses': Rifle group seeks $450k

Lawsuit over two incidents which allegedly made 185,000 ammo rounds unsafe for use

The Singapore Rifle Association (SRA) is seeking more than $450,000 from its parent body, the Singapore Shooting Association (SSA), for alleged losses arising from two flooding incidents that it blames on the SSA.

The case, which opened in the High Court yesterday, is the first of four court feuds between the SRA and the SSA, as well as the latter's president.

The SSA, the national authority for shooting in Singapore, was the lessee and occupier of the National Shooting Centre in Old Choa Chu Kang Road.

The SRA, which operated an armoury in the centre's basement, alleges that 185,000 rounds of ammunition that were stored there were submerged underwater for more than 24 hours due to the two floods.

The affected rounds are unsafe for use, and will have to be disposed of at significant cost, said SRA's lawyer Wendell Wong. He added that the backflow of water from a "poorly designed" unlined drain on the premises caused the armoury to be flooded on Dec 24, 2014 and on May 3, 2015.

Mr Wong argued that the SSA breached the duty of care it owed to the SRA to properly maintain the drain and supervise works carried out at the centre.

In the first incident, the armoury was flooded to a depth of more than 1m. Mr Wong said expert witnesses will testify that the main reason for the flood was a collapsed slope at the bank of the drain; earth fill material blocked the drainage channel, causing a backflow of water into the armoury.

Meanwhile, the second flood was due to blockage of the pipe connecting the two sections of the drain, which was choked by debris, he said.

But the SSA, represented by lawyer Anthony Lee, says it does not owe the SRA a duty of care. Mr Lee argued that it was Sport Singapore, lessor of the premises, which brought earth fill material onto the site for refurbishment works in preparation for the 2015 South-east Asian Games.

Mr Lee said the SSA had no control over the works carried out on the premises, which were handed over to the statutory board between October 2013 and December 2014.

However, Mr Wong said Sport Singapore has clarified that it neither ordered trucks to dump debris at the centre, nor asked the SSA to surrender the premises completely.

The suit was initially brought by the SSA in 2015 to compel the SRA to hand over the armoury, so that it could carry out upgrading works to meet security requirements. The SRA then counter-sued the SSA.

In February last year, the centre was closed by Sport Singapore, after police found serious licensing irregularities. The SSA withdrew its claim.

The SRA has also filed two suits against SSA president Michael Vaz.

The SRA also filed one suit against the SSA, over a proposed resolution circulated to council members.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2017, with the headline 'Flood 'losses': Rifle group seeks $450k'. Print Edition | Subscribe