Firm hired by AHPETC to manage accounts a one-man outfit

ONE of the two accounting firms that the Workers' Party-run town council has engaged to help it manage its books is a one-man outfit that was started last year.

Business Assurance, which will act as financial consultant to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), is a sole proprietorship run by Mr Chai Chon Fatt, 44, according to its Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) profile.

He is also financial controller of Singapore-listed Transcorp Holdings, a role he has held since November last year, according to a Transcorp filing with the Singapore Exchange. Mr Chai, who set up Business Assurance in February last year, was also head of audit and advisory at business advisory firm One Partnership from April 2012 to July last year.

He has also held positions including that of independent director at Ziwo Holdings, audit manager at Grant Thornton and chief financial officer at New Toyo International Holdings.

AHPETC also said in the High Court yesterday that it had appointed another firm, Audit Alliance, to audit its past accounts. Both firms were hired in March.

Audit Alliance is a limited liability partnership with two owners, Mr Lee Tai Wai and Ms Chiew Shang Hui, according to its profile with Acra. The firm's website lists several clients, including companies belonging to Japan's Mitsui Group.

Last Saturday, AHPETC and Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim said the town council had engaged an accounting firm to help it clean up past accounts and strengthen internal controls, after a special audit found accounting and governance lapses at AHPETC in February. She did not name the firm.

FIONA CHAN