AHPETC continues to be banded red in FY2014 Town Council Management Report

The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) at Block 701 in Hougang Avenue 2.
The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) at Block 701 in Hougang Avenue 2. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) continues to be banded red in two areas in the Ministry of National Development's FY2014 Town Council Management Report released on Tuesday (Dec 1).

It is the fourth time the Workers' Party-run (WP) AHPETC has been banded red for service and conservancy charges (S&CC) arrears management and the third time for corporate governance.

Town councils were assessed under five indicators, using three colour bands. Assessment was based on measurable objective criteria, submitted by the town councils and their auditors.

MND said most town councils had performed well in all areas, though some could do better in the areas of estate maintenance, S&CC arrears management and corporate governance.

AHPETC had failed to submit its monthly S&CC arrears report for the assessment period even though it was reminded to do so and was granted deadline extensions, the ministry said in the press release.

Under corporate governance, AHPETC was banded "red" due to three legal and regulatory contraventions by the town council as indicated by its own auditor's findings and the town council's self-declared corporate governance checklist.

In the FY2013 report, AHPETC was banded "red" as it had not shown that it had rectified the various legal and regulatory contraventions reported by its independent auditors for FY2011 and FY2012, and had not submitted its FY2013 audited financial statements, auditor's report, auditor's management letter and self-declared corporate governance checklist.

AHPETC subsequently made the required submissions for FY2013 on June 30 this year, which showed four regulatory contraventions. AHPETC would still have been banded "red" in the FY2013 report if it had submitted the required documents on time and therefore no revision of this rating was needed, the ministry said in the release.

Chua Chu Kang and Potong Pasir town councils were banded "amber" for S&CC arrears management.

Chua Chu Kang town council had an increase in the proportion of S&CC overdue for three months or more, and Potong Pasir town council had the same rating as last year.

Bishan-Toa Payoh town council was banded "amber" for corporate governance on a technicality after it incorrectly classified its residential rooftop antenna Temporary Occupation Licence income under the commercial property fund for FY2014.

However, all the town councils scored well for estate cleanliness and lift performance.

The report also revealed that estate maintenance remained an area for improvement for all town councils, with obstruction of common areas being the main issue.

Responding to the report, Mr Pritam Singh, chairman of the WP-run town council, said that the town council has been working to address the red bandings for S&CC arrears management and corporate governance. 

He revealed that the town council recently approved the procurement of a new management software system which is expected to be operational within 18-24 months from the award of tender. "Despite incremental enhancements made to the existing IT system over the last few years, there remain inherent limitations which continue to contribute to some management and reporting challenges associated with S&CC arrears management and corporate governance," he said in a press release on Tuesday. 

Separately, the town council had also appointed external consultants in March to advise it on compliance matters to address the Auditor-General’s Office’s  findings published in February 2015, he said. 

In light of the recent Court of Appeal judgement, the town council will appoint an accountant as mandated by the court. The town council will work with the accountant, Ministry of National Development and HDB to facilitate the transfer of the outstanding government grants and make the mandatory sinking fund transfers, he added.