The Workers' Party (WP) town councillors embroiled in a multi-million-dollar civil suit over alleged improper payments have raised at least $65,000 to pay their legal fees, after launching a crowdsourcing appeal yesterday evening.
"We need financial resources to fight the legal battle and to deal with the prospect of being made a bankrupt," WP chairman Sylvia Lim, secretary-general Pritam Singh and former chief Low Thia Khiang said in their blog In Good Faith yesterday.
They said they have paid $600,000 to their lawyers for work done so far, using their own savings and contributions from friends. This has "depleted our personal resources", they said.
"We have not used any funds from the Workers' Party," they added.
Ms Lim yesterday confirmed to The Straits Times that the appeal was legitimate.
The trio and two other town councillors are facing two suits over $33.7 million in alleged improper payments - one brought by Aljunied-Hougang Town Council as directed by an independent panel, and the other by Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council.
The suits claim that the quintet breached their fiduciary duties, and have to repay the improper payments made. They are represented by Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah from Tan, Rajah & Cheah in the case now before the High Court. The trial, which began on Oct 5, is scheduled to run until Nov 2.
FINANCIAL HELP NEEDED
We have not used any funds from the Workers' Party.
WORKERS' PARTY CHAIRMAN SYLVIA LIM, SECRETARY-GENERAL PRITAM SINGH AND FORMER CHIEF LOW THIA KHIANG, on how they have depleted their personal resources over the lawsuits.
"The claims against us are unfounded. We have acted in good faith, and did what we believed to be in the best interests of our residents and the town council," the MPs said.
"We will fight the claims vigorously. If we lose the suits and are adjudged to pay large sums of money, and are unable to pay, we would face bankruptcy… We now appeal to the public for financial support," they wrote.
If the MPs are found liable for the improper payments and cannot pay up, they risk being declared bankrupt and having their assets seized. MPs who are made bankrupt will also lose their parliamentary seats.
The MPs sought public contributions via bank transfer, cheque and to Ms Lim's PayNow account. They also asked donors to include an e-mail address so they could thank them.