When questioned why did his audit report included a personal remark attacking the Workers’ Party MPs for conflict of interests, the government-hired auditor said he does not accept political factors as reasoning why the PAP-controlled managing agent CPG was not considered:
PwC Goh Thien Phong: I investigate into circumstances surrounding the award of the managing agent contract that determines why the town council had to pay a higher price (than if they were to continue with CPG Facilities Management). The town council put itself in an awkward position with conflicted payments, and this whole thing comes together.
Defence: Comes together, Mr Goh, in a mind that is looking to find fault. Mr Low Thia Khiang (WP MP) faced several challenges when he won the Hougang ward in 1991. He had to find alternatives when the Housing and Development Board terminated its Essential Maintenance Services Unit’s contract and computer services for Hougang Town Council, among others. Did your report deal with the factors, the compulsions that caused the defendants to seek the assistance of (FMSS early on) to prevent the intended tripping of (AHTC)?
Pwer Goh Thien Phong: We don’t consider emotional factors.
Defence: That is a factor of political life.”
The defence lawyer pointed out that the then-Minister for National Development did not have a problem with the Opposition town council waiving a tender for its appointment of the managing agent. This prompted PwC Goh Thien Phong to accuse the WP of favouritism:
“A tender waiver showed favouritism to FMSS and would have deterred other parties from bidding subsequently.”
According to PwC partner Goh Thien Phong, the sabotage by PAP-controlled company AIM – which saw the Town Council Management Software (TCMS) stolen – is an “emotional factor”. The Malaysian national then defended the ruling party PAP saying that the sabotage is unrelated to whether CPG had the capabilities to continue the contract without the TCMS software:
“Defence: The contract with CPG entailed using a town council management computer system by a PAP-owned company, Action Information Management. The computer system was removed by Action Information Management, do you think CPG could continue as managing agent without the system?
PwC: CPG had the contractual obligation to continue, whether (Action Information Management) withdrew or not.”
PwC Goh Thien Phong and KPMG director Owen Hawkes are the two leading prosecution witnesses in the trial to sue the 3 WP MPs for S$33 million. The two foreigners are hired by the ruling party government, on an undisclosed sum, to explain their damning report accusing the WP MPs of corruptions. The WP MPs were however cleared by the police over any wrongdoing, which the ruling party followed up with the S$33 million civil lawsuit.