AHPETCSingapore has become witness to a local controversy of sorts in local governance and management. The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), was recently flagged by the Auditor-General after having done an audit on the AHPETC’s accounts during the period of the Financial Year of 2012-2013. The Auditor-General released a 17 page report to the public where it stated that the AHPETC had been found to have lapses in “governance and compliance.” The AHPETC said that they would respond to the report on the following Saturday and urged the public to look beyond the headlines and verify all the facts and details of the report and the issues before making any conclusions.


AHPETC was created when the Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East Town Councils merged together and formed the AHPETC. The Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) interviewed several of the AHPETC staff and reviewed and studied various files, cases, and documents of the AHPETC before submitting its final report on Feb 6.

Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam authorized the Auditor-General to begin auditing after the town council’s own independent auditor noted certain concerning issues that warranted the auditing. The issues of concern were raised in a disclaimer of opinion regarding the town council’s FY2012-13 accounts. This was actually 4 more than the areas of concern raised in the previous FY2011-12. This increased areas of concern warranted the auditing to be directed by the Finance Minister.

AHPETC1In a final report of the AGO submitted on Feb 6 the AGO noted five main “major lapses” in governance and compliance. These were;

  1. The Town Council Rules stated that money would be transferred to any sinking bank fund accounts but this was not done.
  2. There were oversights on party transactions involving ownership of certain key officers. This resulted in the integrity of the payments being compromised.
  3. There was no system to manage arrears of conservancy and service charges.
  4. Poor internal controls resulting in loss of valuables and mismanaged payments and overspending.
  5. There was also no system in place to safeguard important documents.

In summary the report of the AGO stated that the AHPETC failed to comply with current Town Council Rules. The rules in place clearly stated that sinking funds were to be maintained separately by Town Councils. This was in line with improving and maintaining current town properties.

The report also stated that AHPETC failed to make the needed transfers to fund bank accounts that were sinking and needed to stay afloat. They failed for the previous three quarters. While some transfers were made, they were made too little and too late to make a difference.

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