AHTC lawsuits

Disingenuous to draw parallel of conflict of interest: Senior Counsel

Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said the FMSS owners did not disclose their interests, unlike Mr Jeffrey Chua, CPG's managing director, who had.
Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said the FMSS owners did not disclose their interests, unlike Mr Jeffrey Chua, CPG's managing director, who had.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

It was disingenuous of the Workers' Party (WP) defendants to draw a parallel between the non-disclosure of interests by shareholders of FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) and CPG Facilities Management, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh said yesterday.

This was because Mr Jeffrey Chua, CPG's managing director, declared his interest in a June 2, 2010, town council meeting when he was general manager and secretary of the then Aljunied Town Council, while it was still under the People's Action Party.

Not only that, Mr Chua's share options were for CPG's parent company and amounted to only 0.015 per cent, Mr Singh noted during his cross-examination of WP chairman Sylvia Lim in a multimillion-dollar civil suit.

In contrast, husband-and-wife team How Weng Fan and Danny Loh held a 70 per cent stake in FMSS, while holding key roles in the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).

Yesterday, Mr Singh asked Ms Lim if she was aware, or had ever bothered to check, if Mr Chua had declared his interest.

He was challenging a suggestion made by Ms Lim's lawyer two weeks ago that Mr Chua could also be considered a "conflicted person" if Ms How and the late Mr Loh were deemed as such.

Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah had posed this question to KPMG executive director Owen Hawkes, whose firm was tasked to look into AHTC's books.

Yesterday, Mr Singh said the FMSS owners did not disclose their interests, unlike Mr Chua, who had.

Ms Lim disagreed, saying that documents declaring the shareholdings in FMSS were submitted before it was granted the second managing agent contract in 2012.

 
 
 

Mr Singh pointed out that these were submitted to only a sub-committee, not the entire town council.

Ms Lim said there was no written or oral disclosure, but pointed out that town councillors "had knowledge" of the shareholding interest.

This prompted Mr Singh to seek an intervention from Justice Kannan Ramesh, as he said "this witness will try her luck and push it to the boundaries". Ms Lim later admitted there was no disclosure.

Mr Singh then said: "Ms Lim, if that disclosure of interest was of all of his interest, then the attempt to draw the parallel is disingenuous."

Ms Lim emphasised the word "if" before agreeing.

"So you see, Ms Lim, as you have been giving evidence to this court in your defence, in Parliament, in your media statements, you have no qualms lying," Mr Singh said.

"I will reject that," she replied.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2018, with the headline 'Disingenuous to draw parallel of conflict of interest: Senior Counsel'. Print Edition | Subscribe