What really transpired between the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Workers’ Party Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol-East Town Council (AHPETC)? Recently we see the Singapore Government MND throwing a lot of sensational accusations at AHPETC, like “technically insolvent” and “failed to take up the offer by MND”. You have been hearing a lot of stories from the 154th ranking Singapore mainstream media, the timeline below will be the uncensored truth of what really happened:
August 2011 – Shortly after winning Aljunied GRC, the PAP-owned Action Information Management (AIM) company terminated the usage of their financial software to the Workers’ Party. The former Aljunied PAP team was also uncooperative resulting many wasted months for the WP’s auditor to audit past funds. This is the story that led to the mess of AHPETC’s finance. Read more from here.
28th April 2014 – MND wrote to AHPETC:
“MND is considering to withhold the FY14/15 S&CC Operating Grant until the conclusion of the audit by the Auditor-General. Right now, we do not have reasonable assurance of proper financial management and keeping of accounts by AHPETC. Before we do so, we want to know whether AHPETC has any views or concerns as regards the proposed withholding of the above S&CC Operating Grant. If there are, you must let us have AHPETC’s views or concerns in writing for our consideration no later than 10 working days after you have received this letter (i.e. by May 14, 2014).”
MND did not receive a reply, but proceeded to withhold the government grant to AHPETC.
16th June 2014 – MND continued to withhold government grant, and AHPETC wrote to MND explaining how disruptive MND has been to AHPETC’s cash flow:
“the continued withholding of the grant to AHPETC is likely to critically and adversely affect the TC’s cash flow position, resulting in a disruption of essential services to the town because the TC would not be able to pay its contractors…We call on the Ministry to disburse without further delay the Operating Grant it has withheld from AHPETC.”
20th June 2014 – MND said to AHPETC
“MND may reconsider the withholding of grant, to take into account the impact, if any, this may have on the TC’s provision of essential services to the town.”
Talks went on for months, but MND remains unsatisfied and refused to release any grant despite AHPETC’s best effort to explain their cash flow position.
7th October 2014 – MND said:
“MND is deeply concerned about the TC’s financial situation based on the information you provided and we would like to work with you to see how we can help the TC sustain its operations and avoid disruption of essential services to residents. We are prepared to consider, as an exceptional measure, releasing half the operating grant to AHPETC while the AGO audit is still on-going”
However MND did nothing and continued to withhold the government grants, faulting AHPETC for “not replying”. This contradict with MND’s earlier behaviour of proceeding to act without getting a reply on 28th April 2014 (scroll up).
12th November 2014 – AHPETC informed MND they are ready to receive half the operating grant. MND continued to withhold grant for no reason despite saying they will consider giving out half the grant earlier.
9th February 2014 – AGO’s report found no corruption from AHPETC’s finances. MND continued to withhold grant for no reason, despite claiming so to “wait for the AGO report”.
Today – AHPETC could not fulfill the law requirement of making quarterly transfers to its sinking fund because MND continues to withhold its fund for no reason.
Do you think MND is deliberately being unruly here?