AHTC trial: Former Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang to take stand Tuesday afternoon

Former Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang and WP chairman Sylvia Lim at the High Court on Oct 16, 2018. Mr Low will be cross-examined first by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, who is representing the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.
Former Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang and WP chairman Sylvia Lim at the High Court on Oct 16, 2018. Mr Low will be cross-examined first by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, who is representing the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - Former Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang will take the stand in the High Court on Tuesday afternoon (Oct 16).

Mr Low is one of three WP MPs facing multimillion-dollar lawsuits for an alleged breach of fiduciary duties in running the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).

He will be cross-examined first by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, who is representing the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (PRPTC), one of the two plaintiffs.

PRPTC, which oversees Punggol East, is suing eight defendants over alleged losses suffered when the constituency was part of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council from 2013 to 2015.

The other lawsuit is initiated by AHTC, under the direction of an independent panel. AHTC's lawyer David Chan will also cross-examine Mr Low.

With an hour to the trial, about 30 members of the public, many of them WP supporters, have already taken passes to enter the public gallery in the courtroom. The gallery can seat about 40 to 50 people.

Since the trial started two weeks ago (Oct 5), two auditors - KPMG executive director Owen Hawkes and PwC partner Goh Thien Phong - have been called to the stand.

KPMG and PwC were appointed by AHTC and PRPTC respectively to look into the town council's books.

 
 

Both Mr Hawkes and Mr Goh were questioned separately by defence lawyers Chelva Rajah and Leslie Netto over the findings in their firms' reports, which are central to both cases.

Disputing the findings, Mr Rajah and Mr Netto sought to show that AHTC had good reason to appoint FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) as its managing agent in 2011 without a tender, and that financial controls were put in place, among various points.

The other defendants are WP chairman Sylvia Lim and current secretary-general Pritam Singh, and town councillors Kenneth Foo and Chua Zhi Hon, along with AHTC's former managing agent, FMSS, and its majority owners How Weng Fan and Danny Loh.

Ms How is also representing her late husband, Mr Loh, who died in 2015.

The lawsuit centres on $33.7 million in payments made by AHTC to FMSS and its service provider from 2011 to 2015, which are alleged to be improper and void.