New Silkroutes appoints new finance director, CEO as executive director

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Healthcare and energy firm New Silkroutes Group has appointed chief executive officer (CEO) VicPearly Wong as its executive director, and Lincoln Kwok as its finance director.

With the additional role, Dr Wong, 44, is responsible for the overall management and operations of the group, as well as facilitating and managing the company, New Silkroutes said in a bourse filing on Monday evening (Nov 16).

Meanwhile, Mr Kwok, 44, is responsible for the group's treasury, finance, audit and strategic planning functions. These include fund-raising, developing and maintaining banking relationships, and assisting the CEO in assessing and structuring corporate finance deals and investments, New Silkroutes said.

Prior to this, Mr Kwok was financial controller at Hong Kong-listed Pipeline Engineering Holdings, which offers infrastructure pipeline construction and related engineering services.

Dr Wong and Mr Kwok's appointments come after the resignations in October of non-independent, non-executive chairman Goh Jin Hian and finance director William Teo Thiam Chuan have resigned.

New Silkroutes said then that Dr Goh, the son of former prime minister Goh Chok Tong, stepped down as its chairman to "focus on personal matters and to pursue other interests". Mr Teo, meanwhile, stepped down "to devote more time to his personal affairs", it added.

The resignations of the two New Silkroutes directors came after the company disclosed on Sept 30 that Dr Goh and Mr Tan were being investigated by the CAD over a possible offence under the Securities and Futures Act. New Silkroutes said then that it understood the alleged offence was false trading and market rigging to do with past share buy-backs and share acquisitions.

Dr Goh is also being sued by the judicial managers of an unrelated firm - oil trader Inter-Pacific Petroleum - over US$156 million (S$212 million) in losses it sustained due to his alleged breach of duties when he was its director. He quit in October as independent director of cord-blood banking firm Cordlife Group.

Dr Goh was New Silkroutes' CEO till Oct 1, when he assumed the position of non-executive chairman.

Most recently in late October, New Silkroutes said it will appoint an independent public accounting firm to review matters relating to two of its agreements involving a China unit, and the valuation of its stake in a Thai firm.

This comes after its auditor Deloitte & Touche gave a disclaimer of opinion on the financial statements of the group for the financial year ended June 30.

Deloitte said in its Oct 14 report that it was unable to obtain sufficient audit evidence on matters including the business rationale, commercial substance and structuring of two agreements that New Silkroutes' wholly-owned subsidiary Shanghai Fengwei Garment Accessory signed with a Chinese entity in April.

The auditor had also said it could not determine the appropriateness of the valuation methodology used for Thai General Nice Coal and Coke.

New Silkroutes shares closed at 8.6 cents on Monday, up 0.1 cent or 1.2 per cent, before the announcements of Dr Wong and Mr Kwok's appointments.