AHTC lawsuits

Davinder questions why shareholder details were not disclosed

Senior Counsel Davinder Singh (pictured) asked Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim why the information about the firm's shareholder details were not disclosed.
Senior Counsel Davinder Singh (pictured) asked Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim why the information about the firm's shareholder details were not disclosed.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

On Aug 4, 2011, the new Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) held its second meeting, during which its members were to decide on hiring a new managing agent.

But when they decided to hire FM Solutions & Services (FMSS), some of them could have been in the dark about the firm's shareholder details, the High Court heard yesterday.

Why was the information not disclosed, Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim was asked by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh. It must have slipped her mind, she replied.

Earlier, she acknowledged the details would be good for the councillors' decision-making, and make AHTC's records more complete.

Ms Lim was being cross-examined for the third day in a civil suit involving eight defendants.

Mr Singh represents the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, which is suing the eight for losses Punggol East allegedly suffered under the opposition-run town council.

Another point he raised was Ms Lim's e-mail on Aug 3, 2011, to former MP Yaw Shin Leong, who had asked if there was a need to reveal FMSS' exact stakeholders in the town council's minutes or report.

 
 

Ms Lim said: "We can/should enclose the Acra (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) search... let me arrange."

Mr Singh sought to show that using the word "should" implied Ms Lim considered the information relevant to the other councillors.

Ms Lim disagreed, saying several times she meant it was "good for councillors' decision-making" and for "more robust" record-keeping. She added that she did not think it would have affected their decision on FMSS.

At the meeting, the town councillors approved the waiver of tender for a managing agent and appointed FMSS for a year.

Among FMSS shareholders were Ms How Weng Fan and her late husband Danny Loh. Both were AHTC members too: Mr Loh was its secretary, and Ms How was re-appointed its deputy secretary.

Mr Singh pointed out that in the seven years since the meeting, not once had it been said that Ms Lim forgot to inform the town council of the shareholder details - not in "public, Parliament, in court, in (her) responses to KPMG reports, in (her) defence, affidavits".

"I suggest that this evidence of it having slipped your mind is concocted," charged Mr Singh.

Ms Lim disagreed. It was not the only time yesterday Mr Singh suggested she had misled others.

He put it to her that FMSS' Letter of Intent, which stated its rates, among other details of its managing agent services, was not introduced at the meeting as well.

Ms Lim replied that she had reproduced it in a report that was circulated to the other councillors.

But Mr Singh said: "Having already decided to waive (the tender) in June, you were now giving the impression to the town council, that (on the) 4th of August, there was no time to call for a tender because of the position in which (former managing agent) CPG and (software provider) AIM put us in."

Ms Lim replied: "I don't agree with your characterisation."

Mr Singh also contended that Ms Lim should have told the meeting how much AHTC was charged by FMSS for Hougang Town Council staff it took over and others it hired.

Ms Lim said: "In the interest of giving them full information, I can agree." She later conceded it did not occur to her to provide it.

Mr Singh said: "It didn't occur to you to produce the Acra search, it didn't occur to you to tell them about this figure, (or) to put the Letter of Intent on the table.

"This was a very carefully thought-through meeting. There were e-mails leading up to (it) about when should it be called, should it be postponed, what should be disclosed... what should go into the report - you amended it, and you want this court to believe that all these relevant matters didn't occur to you?"

Ms Lim replied that she had answered as honestly as she could.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2018, with the headline 'Davinder questions why shareholder details were not disclosed'. Print Edition | Subscribe