Kimly's top executives arrested for alleged involvement in giving false or misleading statements

Kimly Limited executive chairman Lim Hee Liat and executive director Chia Cher Khiang were confirmed to have been arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department on Dec 4, 2018. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Days after coffee shop operator Kimly Limited confirmed that two of its top executives were being investigated on the company's recent acquisition of Asian Story Corporation (ASC), it said the duo had been arrested and were out on bail.

In a filing to the Singapore Exchange on Tuesday night (Dec 4), Kimly said its executive chairman Lim Hee Liat and executive director Chia Cher Khiang had been arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department for "having been concerned, or reasonably suspected of being involved in, an offence under Section 199 of the Securities and Futures Act".

The section involves giving false or misleading statements, and states that no person shall make such statements or disseminate such information that will likely induce others to subscribe for securities, security-based derivatives contracts or units in a collective investment scheme, among other outcomes.

The pair, while out on bail, continue to help in investigations, Kimly said in its latest filing.

No formal charges have been made, and it is unclear if the company's former non-executive director Ong Eng Sing, also known as Mr Alain Ong, is in a similar situation.

Mr Ong, who retired from his directorship at Kimly in January 2018, was Pokka International's chief executive officer until he was suspended in September this year, following an internal audit. He no longer works for Pokka.

In a series of announcements last week, Kimly disclosed that the authorities had asked for information technology equipment used by Mr Ong, Mr Lim and Mr Chia, among other matters.

They asked for documents on Kimly's initial public offering and its acquisition of ASC as well, and its corporate secretarial records from Jan 1, 2016.

Separately, drinks manufacturer ASC was asked to produce its corporate secretarial and financial records, and documents on its July acquisition.

Kimly has since rolled back the acquisition after considering the impact of Pokka Corporation (Singapore) terminating a manufacturing agreement with ASC.

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