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    Feb 20, 2014

    Auditor-General to audit WP town council

    FINANCE Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has asked the Auditor-General to audit Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council's (AHPETC's) latest accounts.

    The town council, run by the Workers' Party (WP), has said that it welcomes this decision and has assured the Auditor-General of its "full cooperation in this matter".

    This comes after the town council's auditor did not give the all-clear due to several issues it found in the accounts.

    A letter was sent by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan to Mr Tharman, laying out the reasons for requesting this latest audit. Mr Tharman in turn directed the Auditor-General to do so.

    In his letter, Mr Khaw noted that AHPETC had said that the issues with its accounts arose primarily from the handover of the town council in 2011, when the WP won Aljunied GRC.

    But, he said, this explanation does not deal with concerns such as the town council not disclosing full details of fees paid to a related party, managing agent FM Solutions and Services.

    AHPETC did not transfer $12.46 million in service and conservancy charges to the sinking fund, and did not make available the latest management accounts and minutes after the financial year ended.

    The auditor also could not determine the validity and accuracy of amounts which came up to more than $20 million.

    These observations by the auditor, Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton LLP, "raise serious questions about the reliability and accuracy" of the town council's financial and accounting systems, said Mr Khaw.

    He also noted that the auditor raised more issues this year compared to last year, which "suggests a deterioration in the position".

    In his letter to the Auditor-General, Mr Tharman said the auditor's report raises questions about the adequacy of AHPETC's systems and "whether public funds in AHPETC are properly applied".