Photo of Charles Chong from Mediacorp

In his election campaign for Punggol East SMC in 2015, PAP MP Charles Chong was found to have issued a fake news rumor on his campaign flyer alleging that the Workers’ Party have misappropriated S$22.5 million. The baseless allegation was picked up by WP MP Png Eng Huat today (Feb 16), who posted on Facebook balance sheet reports of the alleged “missing” town council fund.

Photo from Png Eng Huat Facebook page
Photo from Png Eng Huat Facebook page

In his campaign flyer, PAP MP Charles Chong wrote that the opposition-held town council owed the PAP council S$22.5 million:

“At the tail end of GE2015 campaign, Mr Charles Chong sent a letter dated 8 September 2015 to all Punggol East (PE) residents stating that $22.5 million transferred to AHPETC by Pasir-Ris Punggol Town Council (PRPTC) was now unaccounted for. By the time we got wind of this letter, it was Cooling-Off Day.”

The news was released a day before Cooling Off day, where a ban on media and campaigning was on. The Cooling Off day was invented by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to allow his state media publish news in the ruling party’s favour.

After the PAP won the by-election at Punggol East SMC, WP MP Png Eng Huat approached PAP MP Charles Chong saying that the WP wish to return every single cent owed to the PAP Town Council. PAP MP Charles Chong dodged the question and refused to explain:

“After the general election, we met Mr Chong to discuss the handover matters on 18 September 2015. I asked him about the alleged missing $22.5 million. I told him we would want to return every single cent to PE residents if he could point out what this money was all about. In every audited financial statement since 2013, there was $22.8 million to $26.3 million attributed to PE sitting in our accounts (see photos). He brushed off my question and said he had already explained. I did not recall there was an explanation given anyway.”

Law Minister K Shanmugam has in recent years barking about fake news being a social menace. It is unknown what actions is he going to take against the fake news propagated by his fellow PAP MP, who is now Deputy Speaker of Parliament and also a member of the Select Committee on Online Falsehoods.

You may read Png Eng Huat’s full post here:

“With the release of the final KPMG report on AHTC today, I can finally finish writing this post which has bugged me for almost 30 months.

At the tail end of GE2015 campaign, Mr Charles Chong sent a letter dated 8 September 2015 to all Punggol East (PE) residents stating that $22.5 million transferred to AHPETC by Pasir-Ris Punggol Town Council (PRPTC) was now unaccounted for. By the time we got wind of this letter, it was Cooling-Off Day.

After the general election, we met Mr Chong to discuss the handover matters on 18 September 2015. I asked him about the alleged missing $22.5 million. I told him we would want to return every single cent to PE residents if he could point out what this money was all about. In every audited financial statement since 2013, there was $22.8 million to $26.3 million attributed to PE sitting in our accounts (see photos). He brushed off my question and said he had already explained. I did not recall there was an explanation given anyway.

So I waited until PRPTC filed its annual report in 2016 and noted there was $24.7 million attributed to PE sitting in its book as well. In its 2017 financial report, PRPTC said AHTC had sent over the audited handover Financial Statement of PE, and “in the good hands of Pasir-Ris Punggol Town Council, the audited Financial Statement for the Financial Year ended 31 March 2017 is now unqualified”. That means there was no such missing money else the accounts would be qualified!

I waited further for KPMG to publish its final report to complete the final piece of the puzzle. The final report speaks for itself.

We will never solve the mystery of unaccounted $22.5 million now as none of the audited statements from the two town councils and special reports by KPMG and PwC (hired by PRPTC to also look into the accounts of PE after GE2015) could shed any light on the allegation.

The end of the KPMG audit also marks the end of my attempt to find some answers into this matter.”

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