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2 former PA employees charged in Our Tampines Hub fraud case

Four individuals, including ex-PA employees, faced court charges linked to alleged procurement fraud at Our Tampines Hub. Three conspired to submit backdated documents during AGO’s audit.

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SINGAPORE: Four individuals, including two formerly employed by the People’s Association (PA), faced charges in court on Wednesday (31 January), in connection to an alleged procurement fraud case related to the Our Tampines Hub (OTH) development project.

The two PA former employees: Vincent Chang Yew Teck, 63, held the position of deputy director of facilities management at PA, while Lee Kian Wee, 51, served as a senior facilities manager of contracts at the agency.

According to Singapore’s state media, The Straits Times, PA released a statement on Wednesday, confirming that both individuals are no longer associated with the organization.

The PA spokesperson stated, “The two individuals were suspended in May 2021… We are unable to comment further as the matter is before the courts.”

Forgery scheme involving fabricated quotations

The third accused, Seet Thong Kok, 67, worked as a facilities manager for a contractor engaged by PA for minor building works.

Seet faces three counts of forgery, with the charges filed on Wednesday, alleging that the offences occurred in 2017 and 2019.

Between October 2017 and June 2019, Seet is accused of directing the term contractor’s administrative staff to forge 18 quotations purportedly issued by other contractors.

The aim was to deceive PA into believing that the term contractor’s quotation was the lowest among three received for the building works.

According to the police statement, “He allegedly instigated the… contractor’s administrative staff to forge 18 quotations purportedly issued by (other firms), intending to deceive PA that the contractor’s quotation was the lowest-priced of three quotations for building works requested by PA.”

The three companies involved were identified as SK Furniture Construction, K&T Building Construction, and KJS Construction, according to court documents.

A search with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) revealed that Seet is the owner of a firm named Caspian Electrical Sub-Contractor, although the firm’s name was not mentioned in the court documents.

Seet’s case has been adjourned to 28 February. If found guilty of forgery, Seet could face a sentence of up to four years in jail and a fine.

Conspiracy to submit allegedly backdated documents during AGO audit

The fourth individual, Soh Chun Kang, 42, held the position of senior key account manager at a managing agent engaged by PA during the alleged offences, as per the police statement. Details about the managing agent were not disclosed in the court documents.

Vincent Chang, Lee Kian Wee, and Soh Chun Kang face additional charges related to furnishing false information to a public servant.

The police alleged that the trio conspired to provide backdated procurement documents to the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) between December 2020 and February 2021, coinciding with the AGO’s audit of the OTH development project.

A total of 142 allegedly backdated procurement documents were submitted to the AGO.

The cases of Vincent Chang, Lee Kian Wee, and Soh Chun Kang are scheduled for mention in court again on 4 March.

For each count of providing false information to a public servant, offenders can face a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine.

According to PA’s website, OTH is Singapore’s largest integrated community and lifestyle hub, catering to over 250,000 residents and approximately 80,000 households. It offers a range of activities, including sports and shopping, for the community.

AGO identifies lapses in PA’s project management in 2021

In 2021, AGO flagged several lapses and possible irregularities related to the PA’s management of two large development projects, OTH and Heartbeat @ Bedok (HBB) which values totaling S$623.96 million.

At the time, AGO scrutinized a sample of payments amounting to S$1.27 million made between April 2018 and March 2020.

Within this sample, the AGO identified possible irregularities in the supporting documents for 34 out of 36 payments.

These irregularities encompassed potential falsification of quotations, manipulation of hard-copy payment supporting documents, and the creation and backdating of documents to present a false impression of adherence to proper processes.

In response to the AGO’s findings, PA filed a police report and suspended the implicated staff.

Additional concerns raised by the AGO included lapses in calculating adjustments for price fluctuations in the primary construction contract for OTH and deficiencies in the management and oversight of contract variations for the main construction contracts of both OTH and HBB.

These lapses indicated the possibility of PA overpaying contractors by an estimated S$2 million for building materials, such as concrete and steel reinforcements, for OTH.

In a 13 September 2021 parliament sitting, Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, disclosed that PA, following the AGO report, reviewed 31 public construction developments.

This review unveiled that two projects had erroneously applied a 70 per cent cap on price fluctuation adjustments for the past seven years, mirroring OTH’s main construction contract.

MPs, including Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, sought clarification on lapses related to contract variations in the construction phase of OTH and HBB, as well as irregularities during the operations and facilities maintenance phase at OTH.

Contract variations involve mutually agreed changes to the terms of contracts already in effect.

Mr Tong assured that PA is meticulously examining all 252 cases of lapses related to contract variations for OTH flagged by the AGO. A comprehensive review is also underway for the remaining contract variations for both OTH and HBB, extending beyond the AGO’s audit.

“PA is doing so to ensure that the other contract variations were carried out with appropriate approvals and proper documentation, and if not, then to take the appropriate remedial actions,” he said.

To address irregularities in payment documents and enhance contract management at OTH, Mr Tong affirmed that an internal investigation corroborated the AGO’s findings.

Furthermore, a dedicated task force has been established to fortify existing processes and augment oversight of contractors and managing agents.

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All I can say is there are mitigating circumstances. Besides, the court has not issued any verdict yet. So, please don’t anyhow comment or you will be arrested for subjudice charges!

they took 7 years to reveal this???

All these establishment linked entities have been getting too comfortable all these ‘good years’ and complacency sets in.

And islanders have been too trusting, believing that their tax dollars are very well managed.

Not surprising anymore. If Izzy can take, so can I mah.

Attn All.
I the humble genuine John Doe appears to have a vulgar, obscene clone predatoring around.

Pls be alert in case his shit permeates and pollute the environment. Don’t be his victim ya.

TQ.

tsk tsk tsk….

Cotton lovers and pineapple lovers, what say you?

I think PA is firstly, over funded.
Secondly, there’s poor or no accountabilities like the AG check few hundred thousand dollars paid overseas for some festival decorations but no receipt or record.

And little or no punishment meted out as most belonged to a big ‘famiLee’

If there’s an undertaker doing for free, I believe he can dig out many corpses, carcasses under the PAP office bldgs.

Remember The 2 Dollar$ AIM Co. set up to DECEIVE CITIZENS, Voters, and, Oppo Politicians was reported to be a Co. registered using PAP premises adds.

Pay not high enough? Or got no ‘gifts’ like the ex Transport minister?
Just a tip of the iceberg.
All these crassroot, RCs and what chairman of this and that, you think they getting ‘business’ from where?😆😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣

Create problem and Biz Opportunities. Omega and Alpha, hand in hand. Prosperity Burger loh …

Oh this is UNsurprising, ANY bit at all. When it (TH) was opened about 3 years ago, any keen observer easily notice so abnormalities, ANOMALIES Immediately. Eg. NLB toilet hand dryers – the bloody blower, warmer is difficult to access when placing hands underneath, as tho it must be exactly at the correct spot by millimeters accuracy. 2. The NLB sockets for public charging of gadgets is almost all locked up. Why designed and built in the 1st places?2ndly, a bloody nonsense reason given was the some sockets are for industrial use, really? And industrial use power sockets in an… Read more »

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