SINGAPORE — Three Aljunied GRC MPs – the Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang were on Friday (11 October) found by the High Court to be liable for damages suffered by Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC), which is said to have made millions in improper payments under their watch.
The long-running saga will now move on to a second round of hearings to determine the quantum of damages suffered by AHTC, and how much it can recover from the MPs.
Here is a recap of the major developments so far:
The WP wins Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC in the general election.
The WP takes over AHTC and appoints FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) as its managing agent.
WP wins Punggol East in the by-election.
The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) is directed to audit the town council's accounts after its auditor raises issues of concern.
The AGO flags lapses in governance and compliance, including FMSS’ co-owners being town council staff.
KPMG is appointed to audit AHTC after a court order.
The audit finds flaws in the town council's governance and highlights improper payments of $33.7 million to FMSS
AHTC appoints an independent panel to review the KPMG report.
The independent panel files a civil lawsuit against several town councillors, including WP MPs Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh for breach of fiduciary duties.
The trial begins in the High Court.
Justice Kannan Ramesh finds the WP MPs liable for damages suffered by AHTC. Damages will be assessed by the court at a later date.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat moves a parliamentary motion on the conduct of WP MPs Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim, calling for Low and Lim to be recused from all financial matters and oversight related to AHTC. Lim calls the move “premature”. The motion is passed in Parliament.
Later in the month, AHTC votes not to recuse Lim and Low from all financial matters and oversight related to AHTC.
The Ministry of National Development says it “remains concerned” about the financial affairs of AHTC and would consider whether regulatory action is needed to ensure proper safeguarding of public monies managed by Town Councils.