HDB urges Aljunied-Hougang Town Council to resolve outstanding issues

The Housing Board has urged the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council "resolve all these issues fully and without further delay". PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Housing Board (HDB) has called on the Workers' Party-run (WP) Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) to settle outstanding issues related to financial and governance lapses.

This includes getting an external auditor to verify the opening balances for its financial statements, said the HDB on Friday (Feb 16). The town council also has yet to make transfers totalling $13.9 million to make up for the shortfall in past transfers to AHTC's sinking fund, it added.

"HDB urges AHTC to take follow-up actions to resolve all these issues fully and without further delay," it said.

Just a day earlier, independent auditor KPMG had submitted a report to HDB saying it had found AHTC to have resolved all financial and governance lapses.

KPMG, which was appointed in March 2016 to look into AHTC's books, said in its February report that it was reasonably satisfied that all 17 audit points have been resolved.

This 23rd and final KPMG monthly report brings the nearly two-year review to a close, said the WP in a statement on Thursday.

But HDB said on Friday that KPMG had deemed these outstanding matters as being "resolved", on the basis that recommendations had been given to AHTC, or AHTC had informed KPMG of the intended follow-up actions.

HDB also noted that AHTC, through an independent panel, has filed claims in the High Court against several of its town councillors, its former managing agent and some former officers.

The Pasir-Ris Punggol Town Council (PRPTC) is also seeking compensation for money due to Punggol East, which the WP managed from 2013 to 2015.

HDB said it "will continue to monitor the developments related to AHTC's and PRPTC's recovery actions against the defendants".

KPMG was appointed in March 2016 to look into AHTC's books after the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) found significant governance lapses in a special audit.

The Court of Appeal had directed AHTC to appoint a Big Four accounting firm to help fix its lapses, and ensure compliance with the laws.

The town council has since adopted various measures to address these issues, including making up for a shortfall in its sinking fund by transferring close to $14 million to it this year.

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