Breach of Town Councils Financial Rules

Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said Ms Sylvia Lim had breached Town Councils Financial Rules by letting a new company take over the staff of Hougang Town Council - and charge the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council for the costs incurred.
Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said Ms Sylvia Lim had breached Town Councils Financial Rules by letting a new company take over the staff of Hougang Town Council - and charge the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council for the costs incurred.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

On his second day of cross-examining Workers' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said she had breached Town Councils Financial Rules by letting a new company take over the staff of Hougang Town Council - and charge the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) for the costs incurred.

Ms Lim, as AHTC's chairman, had been given authority on June 9, 2011, by others on the AHTC to exercise its powers and duties to facilitate the handover of Aljunied matters after the WP won the GRC in the 2011 General Election.

The new firm, FM Solutions & Services (FMSS), before it started running AHTC, moved the entire staff of Hougang Town Council to its payroll. FMSS then charged AHTC $92,000 for managing agent services it provided in June 2011 to Hougang.

Mr Singh said the town council rules require a tender to be called for services of this amount.

This is an edited excerpt of their exchange.

Davinder Singh (DS): So, being aware, as you claimed this morning, of the town council rules, you disregarded them. You breached them. Right?

Sylvia Lim (SL): I exercised my authority.

 

DS: Answer my question please. You breached them right?

SL: I waived the tender in circumstances of urgency.

DS: There was no urgency discussion, no circumstances discussion, nothing in your affidavit, nothing in (Mr Low Thia Khiang's), nothing in the elected MPs' affidavits.

SL: This waiver was discussed subsequently in the combined proposal.

DS: Ms Lim, we are now just before the 15th of June. Let's take ourselves back in time. We are now on the 13th, 14th, and we are having a chat. You have already decided no tender, and there is nothing on the record about a waiver, right?

SL: At this point, no.

DS: So that is a breach, right? You know the rules.

SL: I have to agree, technically, yes.

DS: Technically?... Ms Lim, let's move on , it is a breach, right?

SL: At this point, yes.

DS: What do you mean at this point? My question is, was there a breach of the rules, yes or no?

SL: On this date, I agree, yes.

DS: If anyone knew about the rules, they would know it is a breach, correct?

SL: Yes.

DS: Who else among elected MPs knew about this?

SL: I cannot remember distinctly, but I believe Mr Low knew and I believe the other MPs also knew.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2018, with the headline 'Breach of Town Councils Financial Rules'. Print Edition | Subscribe