Timeline of Aljunied Hougang Town Council saga from 2011-2019

Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC)/Yahoo News Singapore file photo
Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC)/Yahoo News Singapore file photo

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:

May 2011

The WP wins Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC in the general election.

August 2011

The WP takes over AHTC and appoints FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) as its managing agent.

January 2013

WP wins Punggol East in the by-election.

February 2014

The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) is directed to audit the town council's accounts after its auditor raises issues of concern.

February 2015

The AGO flags lapses in governance and compliance, including FMSS’ co-owners being town council staff.

January 2016

KPMG is appointed to audit AHTC after a court order.

October 2016

The audit finds flaws in the town council's governance and highlights improper payments of $33.7 million to FMSS

February 2017

AHTC appoints an independent panel to review the KPMG report.

July 2017

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.

October 2018

The trial begins in the High Court.

October 2019

Justice Kannan Ramesh finds the WP MPs liable for damages suffered by AHTC. Damages will be assessed by the court at a later date.

November 2019

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.

December 2019

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.

Related stories:

Workers' Party MPs found to have breached duties, liable for damages suffered by AHTC

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Highly anticipated AHTC hearing against 3 Workers' Party MPs begins

COMMENT: The shadows that hang over new Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh

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Low Thia Khiang on AHTC lawsuit: Workers’ Party ‘prepared to be judged’ by Singaporeans

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DPM Heng's motion on AHTC is 'premature': Sylvia Lim

COMMENT: Heng Swee Keat needs to raise his game against Workers' Party

AHTC votes not to recuse Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim from financial matters

MND 'remains concerned' over AHTC’s financial affairs, mulls regulatory action