Two top Kimly execs arrested amid probe over Asian Story acquisition

Kimly said its executive director Chia Cher Khiang (far left) and executive chairman Lim Hee Liat had been arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department for "having been concerned (with), or reasonably suspected of being involved in, an offence under
Kimly said its executive director Chia Cher Khiang (left) and executive chairman Lim Hee Liat had been arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department for "having been concerned (with), or reasonably suspected of being involved in, an offence under Section 199 of the Securities and Futures Act". The two are currently out on bail.ST FILE PHOTO

Five 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, Kimly said that its executive chairman Lim Hee Liat and executive director Chia Cher Khiang had been arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department for "having been concerned (with), 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, was Pokka International's chief executive officer until he was suspended in September 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 cor-porate 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.

Responding to media queries, Mr Lim said that he and Mr Chia will continue in their roles to ensure Kimly's smooth operation.

"We want to assure everyone that Kimly's day-to-day operations remain unaffected, and our team remains focused on delivering Kimly's growth and expansion plans," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2018, with the headline 'Two top Kimly execs arrested amid probe over Asian Story acquisition'. Print Edition | Subscribe