AHPETC – Assumptions, assumptions and more assumptions

I mentioned earlier that I did not read the copious text unloaded by the ST on the AHPETC saga. The persistent condemnation to the point of outrage, appearing daily, forced me to take a closer look at what the case was all about. I pulled out Today’s front page article on Friday 13 titled “AHPETC actions ‘unlawful’” with a subheading ‘Public monies have been lost, minister charges’ for a second look.

I am just a layman that at best has a bit of common sense and hopefully can understand what a top notch legal mind was talking about without being confused or misunderstanding him, and hopefully agreeing with him. The paper said he had 5 major lapses to flog but focused mainly on ‘related party transactions’ of AHPETC. The beef is that 4 senior staff with closed relationship were appointed to manage the Town Council and they could approve each other’s claims for payment, like writing their own checks. And there were over charging of S&CC fees amounting to taking money from the common people to pay their friends, ie benefitting their friends.

Now what is this ‘unlawful’ charge about? To my understanding there must be a law that is broken. Otherwise how can it be unlawful? What law has been broken? Is it about appointing kaki lang to oversee each other resulting in conflict of interest and possible fraud? I am not sure if there is a law that says an organization cannot appoint the father as Chairman, son as CEO and wife as GM or Finance Director. Is there? I am very sure in family businesses this is often the practice. I am not sure if there is a law for public listed companies on this or in the civil service. I am sure it is frown upon, undesirable, unacceptable and maybe there will be company policies against it. That did not make it unlawful right? To be unlawful, there must be a law that forbids it right, learned counsels? Can someone help me on this? I am cocksure that if it is my grandfather’s company, I will appoint anyone to any position I like and have them sign and approve each other’s pay check and you can’t do anything about it. I like what. Cannot meh?

The other issue that Shanmugam was talking about is lost of money, lost of a lot of money. The money were collected from common folks, hard earned money, like the CPF savings, dunno which one is more serious, but being used to pay friends or benefitting friends. Let me explain the simple part first. Many ex Ministers and MPs were appointed to high offices and drawing big fat salaries. Could they fall under the same category as paying friends and benefitting friends, or ex Ministers and MPs are not friends but ex colleagues in political office? Not the same meh?

My point is that there is nothing wrong with such appointments, even with high pays if the friends, oops, I meant ex colleagues, can do the job well. Tiok boh? So, can I say there is nothing wrong to pay friends high salaries and benefitting them if the job is well done, or is done? Those people appointed chairman and directors here and there are not friends meh? They never benefited meh?

I think what is important is money lost. How much is lost, can anyone prove it? I have heard that a lot of money was lost but no numbers being given. But that is beside the point. The most important thing must be the intent or wrongful act like theft or fraud. In the commercial sector, people can lose billions by making bad or wrong investment decisions with no bad intent, with no intent to fraud. And everyone just squeezed their balls and could not do anything about the big losses. Who would be complaining except the rightful owners of the money, the minority shareholders right? There is nothing wrong mah. There must be intent to cheat, to fraud, to steal, according to the law to be unlawful, to be a crime. Has anyone proved any intent in the AHPETC case, or it is assumed? Can one just go around assuming and cut off people’s head or demanding for a pound of flesh on assumptions?

A family business with son or wife claiming millions and father happily signing it is quite common as they trusted each other, and they know that they are absolutely honest people, family business what, so what is wrong? As long as there is trust and the trust is not broken, husband and wife signing for each other cannot meh? Where is the law to say cannot? If got law say cannot, then cannot lah, then it will be unlawful. Nothing more to say leow. Like this I sure can understand.

Ok, the structure is wrong, according to Shanmugam no town councilor who knew this should approve the structure. Yes, yes. It is not a good practice. But is it against the law, against Town Council regulations? If got such law or Town Council regulations, then surely must be breach of fiduciary duties. Got or not?

Now the tricky part, according to Shanmugam, the structure or ‘arrangement was designed. FMSS was a convenient vehicle to which millions of dollars went from the town council. And another obvious question: Money that went to FMSS – where did it actually go? What happened to it?’ Designed for what? For fraud, to cheat? Let me quote Sylvia Lim, what was Shanmugam ‘insinuating’? I say never mind lah. Prove the guilt first. If not, no need to talk more. Let me try to imagine a group of people huddling in a corner designing a town council structure with the purpose of cheating. It would be good if I have a video recording of it.

What happened to the money? You dunno, I dunno. So must be unlawful? What I like is this part quoted by Shanmugam. ‘The law takes an extremely strict view on related party transactions (and) on conflicts of interests. Where contracts have been entered into with related parties in breach of fiduciary duties, the law presumes loss.’ This is a matter of law and the Minister must be right. So those contracts signed between family members must be loss according to the law? Must prove loss or not? This part I dunno.

Shanmugam also charged that 4 WP MPs are culpable for allowing related party transactions to happen under their noses. Culpable for losses or for allowing such transactions? What law is broken? ‘If not exposed, the money would not have been repaid,’ said Shanmugam. So there was lost of money and the money repaid. Is my understanding tiok or boh tiok?

I dunno whether I am wiser after reading the article or not? Anyone of you getting wiser or smarter? Got law broken or not? Got money lost or not? Got intent to cheat proven or not? How I wish I had completed my law school, then not so blur. Lawful, unlawful, legal, illegal, not legal….not lawful, not lawyer.

Oh, one more observation. All the town councils used to charge resident and commercial units different fees, with commercial units paying very much higher S&CC. In 2014 the fees were changed to be the same. As a result, AHPETC ended up charging higher fees for commercial units by not lowering their fees. So they are thus overcharging market rate. Not over billing for sure. Is this a crime? The cost of operation of different town councils cannot all be the same right? And being new and inexperience, being ignorant, did not know other town councils have lowered their fees, so it is unlawful, overcharging? Tiok boh? Got shadow or not? Like that also can be a problem ah? Based on the chart put up by Shanmugam there was a difference. But is that a crime? Is that criminal? Is that cheating, overbilling or overcharging? 

What is wrong with collecting more money? You ask me lah?


Anonymous said...

Lawful or unlawful as charged by the PAP ministers, but they are the incumbent what.

And they are incumbent because, as Teochew Ah Hia already said, 60% are very scared to accidentally vote them out as Ah Hia's WP, which although is the strongest, but sadly, is not ready to be the govt.

So why is WP not ready to be govt? What's worse, its leader Ah Hia even praised PAP for being competent some more.

And like that ah, Ah Hia is asking for it what, as Ah Hia, after more than 20 years as opposition MP, should know full well what PAP as incumbent is capable of doing to their opponents, especially when they are not ready to be govt.

And also blame Sinkies lah, for not joining the Sinkie opposition, including WP, to make it strong and ready to be govt.

Anonymous said...

And also blame Sinkies lah, for not joining the Sinkie opposition, including WP,......
Anon 8:41 am

With so many Sinkie opposition parties and disunited too, is it worth for smart Sinkies to join any of them?

Or is it better for them to concentrate on making money, including blog kopi money, and have a good life under PAP?

And that even RB did not is good enough testimony as to whether it is worth it, tio bo?

Because under PAP's policies, if you are smart, you can make lots of money, regardless of whether as Sinkies or otherwise, young or old, male or female.

Anonymous said...

With so many Sinkie opposition parties and disunited too, is it worth for smart Sinkies to join any of them?
Anon 8:55 am

I think this one PAP also knows lah, that's why they dare to attack WP jialat jialat in Parliament, to the extent of accusing WP of doing unlawful things, and without fear of any backlash against PAP during elections. And knowing the 60% Sinkies, I think PAP has good reasons not to fear.

In fact, if I were PAP, I will even go further and ask CPIB and CAD to investigate WP, and file charges against them if necessary.
Just like how Anwar was charged and duly convicted in Matland for sodomy.

Anonymous said...

If AHPETC is engaging in "unlawful" activity;
And if PAP Millionaire Shanmugam has evidence of such "unlawful activity";
Then why isn't PAP government prosecuting AHPETC?;
Is it a a dereliction of duty by the PAP government if they do not investigate "unlawful activities" in Singapore?

Anonymous said...

Is it a a dereliction of duty by the PAP government if they do not investigate "unlawful activities" in Singapore?
Anon 9:13 am

That is up to the incumbent to decide, just as they decide what is "unlawful activity" by AHPETC.

U are not in the incumbent govt, are u?

That settles the question.

Anonymous said...


The AHPETC saga has been the
talk-of-the-town recently, over
taking other national issues
especially the CPF proposals.

Waste time no more! Waste time no more!

If found so very very wrong and
affecting AHPE residents, it is
wise to bring those responsible
to court, now.

Waste time no more! Waste time no more!

Now, let us look forward to the CNY super-long holidays.

Wishing everyone Strike Jackpots,
Strike Big Sweeps, Strike TOTOs,
Strike 4Ds, Strike Football and
Strike! Strike! Strike! 发发发发!

恭喜发财 万事如意 身体健康 感恩感恩

patriot said...

Waulsu eh.

Article so 'loso'(long winded).

Singaporeans know and that is why Sinkies are asking for APHTEC TO BE CHARGED OR AT LEAST SUED.

Sinkies supports our Rulers to do the Right Thing La.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The article in the paper was so long and got so many points raised. It could be even longer but got to cut short or else no one will read.

Should read Roy Ngerng's post in his blog the hearttruths.

Anonymous said...

U are not in the incumbent govt, are u?
That settles the question.
February 18, 2015 9:19 am

I am a citizen.
I have a right to question the government and the Ministers since they are being paid with tax money collected from Singaporeans.

If PAP Ministers feel they are too rich or too high class to answer questions from Singaporeans, maybe they should emigrate to India or Philippines for more dignity.

Anonymous said...

Shame-MU must be a farked up lawyer. If they have broken the law, why hesitate to charge them ? He must have searched the statutes and found that no law was broken. Fumbled once again ! Now he is sounding like a paper tiger !

patriot said...

How do to interpret them paying themselves millions of Sin Dollars per year?


Anonymous said...

And if PAP Millionaire Shanmugam has evidence of such "unlawful activity";
Then why isn't PAP government prosecuting AHPETC?;
Anon 9:13 am

Actually hor, why WP MPs also didn't challenge Shanmugam to do so hah?

Why hah? I also don't understand leh.

Anonymous said...

Overpaying themselves?

Anonymous said...

True hor. Why WP didn't challenge ah?

Me think they wait until election time, stand on stage, big crowd, then shout loud loud lor. That is their strategy mah, always one.

Virgo 49 said...

They got more unlawful activities behind their backs.

Think they want to start the demise of their own collecting of million dollar salaries???

Many frustrated ex civil servants with half screws or nails balance in their coffins come out to start washing their dirty linen will start their downfall.

Anonymous said...

Maybe WP will be charged for public nuisance.

Virgo 49 said...

Got got, one time SL challengd them to report to the CPIB if they think there are wrong doings but they diam DIAM.

Not this case though.

thicko said...

I am getting confused with all the legal jargon. I think so long as not expressly disallowed, not unlawful. Same like that lawyer Alvin Yeo overcharge the surgeon. Morally reprehensible but not unlawful, unless can prove fraud or cheating.

A Non-Y Mous said...

Ai Yah, WP purposely cock-up lah. If not how to make Papa Party shows its colours to the public.

See for one whole week leading to The Goat Lunar New Year, we could see so many goats: "meh meh here and meh meh there, meh meh meh meh everywhere in the Pa-lee-men, across all the Papa controlled Unfree Press, ranked 153rd in the whole wide world, and on TV, Radio, Papa Lightning News called Pity-Her, and all darken corners of Sinkieland, is it not?

We could watch the ugly and dirty politics being played out in full view of the whole wide world, is it not?

We could laugh at the extreme stupidity of very high caliber professional lawyers making blunders without realizing it, right in front of everybody in the whole wide world.

We could see a self-professed Buddhish who boasted to all and sundry that he is a good Buddhist and if you are honest, he will help you. Have you ever heard of a good Buddhist boasting to you that he is a good Buddhist?

And if he is really a good Buddhist, why when his comrade made a big blunder because he used the data (not facts) supplied by his Buddhist Ministry, this good Buddhist purposely pretend don't know and never help him out, never admit that the data was supplied by his Buddhist Ministry, and never correct the mistakes there and then in full view of the whole wide world?

Three cheers for WP! Pip pip pip, Horay. You are can!

Follow The Leeders said...

That day hor, that PAP-Made-Instant Millionaire Mini$ter Boob Want of MND,

he said his Mini$try assumed and assumed and assumed that the tender awarded to Eternal Pureland, a non-religious, non-charitable, commercial company owned by Life Corp of Australia, only registered 16 days after the MND tender was called, for the building of a Collar-broke-rim in Fernvale.

Then we also had the PAP PM in his speech lately about Fighting for Life and Death, also assume and assume and assume.

Now, we have another PAP-Made-Instant Millionaire Mini$ter Sham assume and assume and assume that WP had committed unlawful offence(s) and also assume and assume and assume that the figures he showed in Parliament on the PAP's Town Councils charges for both Residential and Commercial were identical (how can?) he was cock-sure were correct and accurate. Now kena proved that he was not correct and the figures were given to him by Boob Want's MND.

Now, I also follow these big big shots Leeders' examples., I also assume and assume these PAP-Made-Instant Millionaire Mini$ter$ are liars of the first degree and do not worth their salt of $millions out-of-this-world salaries, 20 months bonuses and other perks.

Can or Cannot? Correct or Wrong?

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece RedBean.

It's a great pity that WP is so serious it didn't throw Kuan Yew's famous quote into the fray.

That it didn't point out, as one of your commenters here did, Hey, just recently one MP, ah, called Alvin, whacked his clients with one helluva bill. And that the WP's bills don't even come close.

Point out that overcharging is now an integral part of our culture. That one has only to look at the ministers' pay for guidance.

Point out that being related in some form is standard too - ex-SAF chiefs in all the wrong places. And the little matter of daddy, son and dater-in-law in charge of all the money in the Country.

And if the WP is using locals to work on their IT system, it should've pointed that out too.
No foreigners involved, man, unlike for Spore's cyberSECURITY systems. Then apologise for not using FTs, the way govt does. Apologise for paying locals more to do the job.

Be surprised that Shan is so trusting of what MND says - esp after the Sengkang affair/claims.

Praise the govt for its success in cultivating the wonderful culture of fear here, so pples dare not do work for the opposition.

Sure score one. The pples would be licking the WP's fingers with gratitude.

Sarcasm and irony are so underpractised here.

Now the WP needs to go out and sue the govt for withholding $7million - from Singaporeans...