KPMG, the independent accountant appointed by Opposition Town Council, AHPETC, concluded their findings that the root causes of the lapses were created by the Singapore government’s Town Council Act:
“The “root causes” “are fundamental to… systemic difficulties for AHTC in effectively and efficiently discharging its obligations” under the Town Councils Act and financial rules.”
KPMG also blamed the multiple lapses to the withdrawal of support by an accounting software company, AIM – a S$1 paid up capital company set up by 3 former PAP MPs. AIM discontinued their accounting services to the Town Council after the Opposition party won Aljunied GRC, as a political move orchestrated by the ruling party.
Another root cause is the leaving of staffs under the town council’s financial department. Due to the high profile nature of the mess in financial accounts, most accounting companies are afraid of working with the Opposition Town Council. Two such accounting firms who agreed to work with AHPETC were character-assassinated by the government-controlled media, The Straits Times, who lambasted them for being “an one-man outfit” [See Straits Times report here] and even publishd their resumes in the article suggesting that they are inexperienced.
KPMG also found no wrongdoing or corruption on AHPETC’s part. The Ministry of National Development accepted KPMG’s explanation and agreed to disburse S$12.9 million of grants it incorrectly withheld over the past 4 years. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong is unavailable for comments on the case despite having the root cause being the Town Council Act.