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Workers’ Party’s Members on trial for suspected breach of fiduciary duties

Three members of Parliament arrived at the High Court on Oct 5 for a civil trial investigating their role as town councillors.

SINGAPORE – TODAYonline reports Workers’ Party’s (WP) Members of Parliament (MPs) Low Thia Khiang, Pritam Singh, and Sylvia Lim are on trial to determine if they had breached their “core fiduciary duties” in their capacity as town councillors, overseeing the money and assets of constituents.

The civil suit brought by the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC), which is composed of WP members, alleges former WP chief Khiang and chairman Lim “deliberately embarked on a course of action” to ensure their town’s management company, FM Solutions and Services (FMSS), took on a “profit-centric role.”

This trial will determine if the three MPs are liable for a reported S$33.7 million in wrongful payments to FMSS between 2011 and 2015, as well as other losses.

Lim and Khiang argue FMSS and the town’s contractor, FM Solutions and Integrated Services (FMSI), were properly overseen and kept in check with safeguards, but the AHTC contends this response to the losses observed is “not grounded in factual [reality].”

“The evidence will demonstrate that the payment process was under the purview of conflicted persons all the way until the final step, where the cheque reached the chairman/vice-chairman for signature.”

– David Chan, Lawyer of Shook Lin and Book LLP and representative of the AHTC

The prosecution alleges wrongdoing began in 2011 with the appointment of FMSS as the AHTC’s management. FMSS had been incorporated in May of the same year, a little over a week after the General Election. Until FMSS took over, the town had been managed by CPG Facilities Management, which was originally contracted until 2013.

“Their actions were so reckless in their disregard of the interests of the residents of AHTC that it can only be viewed as breaches of (Ms Lim’s and Mr Low’s) core fiduciary duty of loyalty and fidelity and duty of good faith.”

– David Chan, Lawyer of Shook Lin and Book LLP and representative of the AHTC

The third MP defendant, Pritam Singh, served as the chairman of the AHTC’s Tenders and Contract Committee, starting in 2012. Singh is on trial for awarding contracts to LST Architects, which if found guilty would make him liable for S$2.8 million in damages.

Additionally named in the lawsuit are AHTC councillors Chua Zhi Hon and Kenneth Foo Seck Guan. FMSS itself will also stand trial for improper payments and breach of fiduciary duties.

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