Man who paid for Tharman’s presidential campaign posters was arrested by CAD

SINGAPORE: After three presidential candidates successfully submitted their nomination papers on 22 August, they been actively campaigning before the cooling-off day on 31 August.

The trio of contenders includes Mr Ng Kok Song, the former GIC investment chief at 75; Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former senior minister of the People’s Action Party at 66; and Mr Tan Kin Lian, the former NTUC Income chief, also at 75.

In a swift display of campaign activity, posters and banners featuring Mr Tharman were observed adorning various locations from the afternoon of Tuesday, shortly after the successful nomination of the presidential candidates.

However, Redwire, a report by Redwire, an online media outlet, highlighted that an individual who had financed Mr. Tharman’s presidential campaign posters was apprehended in February 2022.

This followed an investigation conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

As per Ng Kwan Meng’s profile on Raffles Education‘s platform, Ng is also identified as the chairman of the Taman Jurong Citizens’ Consultative Committee.

In 2020, he was honoured with the National Day Award’s Public Service Medal (PBM).

However, the article highlighted that Ng, along with four other directors of Raffles Education Corporation, was arrested in February 2022. Subsequently, he was released on bail.

The investigation pertained to the company’s disclosures regarding a claim made by Affin Bank against specific subsidiaries of Raffles Education Corporation, including Raffles K12 and Raffles Iskandar, which oversees schools in Malaysia.

Affin Bank had filed a lawsuit against Raffles Education and its subsidiaries on May 27, 2021, demanding immediate loan repayment.

However, this information was only made public to shareholders two months later, on July 29, following SGX’s request.

This could potentially constitute a violation under Section 203 of the Securities and Futures Act, which considers withholding material information from shareholders at the time of occurrence as an offence.

Subsequently, Raffles Education Corporation released a statement stating:

“The Board wishes to further update that the Company and the Borrowers have reached a settlement with Affin Bank on the amicable resolution of the matters under the Writs and understand that the Writs will be withdrawn upon the formalisation of such resolution.”

In response to the incident, Mak Yuen Teen, an accounting professor at the National University of Singapore, criticized the breach of disclosure, deeming it “inexcusable disclosure breach” and one of the “most shocking” he has seen.

He said, “In other words, the board seems to believe that disclosure is at its discretion or is a matter of business judgment. The board is wrong.”

“Investors who have bought shares from May 21 until before the company’s announcement, and arguably before that when letters of demand may have been issued, may understandably feel aggrieved. ”

“They may well have a basis for a civil liability action against those responsible for the lack of timely disclosure.”

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