AHTC seeks extension of deadline for finance report

The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has asked the Housing Board to extend the deadline for submitting a report on its finances by another month to end-September. The original deadline was yesterday.

The report on the town council's past payments is part of an ongoing scrutiny of its governance and finances following the discovery of major lapses in these areas by the Auditor-General's Office.

AHTC chairman Pritam Singh said in a statement last night that his town council had written on Tuesday last week to the HDB to ask for more time. He added: "We are working with KPMG, and will endeavour to submit the report to HDB by Sept 30, 2016."

Accounting firm KPMG is reviewing the past payments made by the town council to determine if any were improper and ought to be recovered, following a Court of Appeal order last November.

The town council's senior officers were also owners and directors of its managing agent FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), and had approved payments to their own company. The town council contract with FMSS ended in July last year.

Mr Singh said the AHTC had asked for an extension "in view of the additional work being performed for the report".

He added that KPMG has been asked to carry out checks on all payments the town council made to related parties: $270,000 worth of transactions made using a dummy code instead of supplier accounts, and some 48,500 manual journal entries used to record about $60 million in payments to third parties.

"In the absence of further queries, we anticipate that KPMG will complete the review of procurement-related activities and most related party payments shortly - including forensic data analytics, forensic technology procedures on AHTC electronic devices, and corporate intelligence procedures," he said.

KPMG had highlighted "pervasive" control failures at the town council in its monthly report in July, which AHTC had put up on its website.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2016, with the headline 'AHTC seeks extension of deadline for finance report'. Print Edition | Subscribe