AHTC submits amended GST returns: KPMG

The Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) has submitted its amended goods and services tax returns for a 51/2-year period from August 2011 to March 2017, said its independent auditor KPMG.

However, the town council has not resolved any outstanding financial and governance problems flagged in past audits, KPMG noted in its latest monthly progress report yesterday. It did not resolve any audit points in the previous month either.

To date, the Workers' Party-run town council has resolved 11 of 17 audit points.

KPMG said AHTC had taken some steps to address some of the six areas that remain unresolved - such as the management of the sinking fund - but five audit points have to be further reviewed, while one has measures in place that still have to be tested.

For instance, AHTC has not migrated certain items over to its replacement accounting system, said KPMG, which was appointed to look into AHTC's books after the Auditor-General's Office found significant governance lapses in a special audit.

KPMG also noted discrepancies in the credit notes or invoices issued by AHTC, and collections or reimbursements from the relevant authorities.

AHTC is working with its vendor to ensure such differences are spotted by its system in future, and will work to resolve the discrepancies with the relevant authorities.

The monthly report comes amid an ongoing lawsuit brought against AHTC town councillors, including Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang and party chairman Sylvia Lim. AHTC initiated legal action against them last month under the direction of an independent panel it appointed in February to help recover improper payments.

The town council has asked its councillors to account for some $33 million in payments to former managing agent FM Solutions and Services and service provider FM Solutions and Integrated Services from July 2011 to July 2015. It contends that the payments it made are null and void as the town councillors had acted in breach of their fiduciary duties.

The WP MPs have said they "will contest the lawsuit and lay out our case vigorously in court".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2017, with the headline 'AHTC submits amended GST returns: KPMG'. Print Edition | Subscribe