We refer to the comments by the Ministry of National Development (MND) on 1st July 2015 on the audited accounts of Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) for Financial Year (FY) 13/14. The full Annual Report for FY 13/14 can be found here.
Late Filing of Accounts by 10 months
This is an old issue previously explained inside and outside of Parliament, and in the TC Chairman’s Message in the Annual Report. AHPETC had to focus its resources on the audit by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) from March 2014 to January 2015. We also had difficulties securing an auditor till late 2014, which was approved by MND in December 2014.
We are currently working on completing the audit of FY 14/15.
Third Consecutive Year of Qualified Accounts from Independent Auditors
Significant progress has been made on clearing past disclaimers. We expect future audit reports of AHPETC to continue to contain qualifications relating to specific items especially handover opening balances, which remain unresolved even with the assistance of AGO, despite 10 months of extensive work.
Related Party Transactions
This is an old issue on which AHPETC has made progress. In any event, any concerns will be completely removed after 15 July 2015 when the current Managing Agent contract expires and AHPETC is directly managed.
Annual Operating Surplus / Deficit
MND noted that AHPETC went from an annual operating surplus of S$1.1 million in FY 11/12 to a deficit of S$1.53 million in FY 12/13 and a deficit of S$2.01 million in FY 13/14. It also stated that the town council previously understated the annual operating deficit in FY 12/13 by half.
The annual operating deficit for FY 12/13 was restated in response to the findings of the AGO audit. The adjustments included corrections as well as provisions made for impairment.
In FY 13/14, the operating deficit increased substantially as a result of higher operating expenses. Increases in revenue from service and conservancy charges due to the inclusion of Punggol East SMC wef May 2013 were more than offset by increases in conservancy/cleaning, lift maintenance, and utilities, amongst others.
We believe that the trend in changes in AHPETC’s financial position and results of operations will become clearer following the audit FY 14/15.
Compliance with the Town Councils Act
Finally, we would like to draw the public attention to page 7 of the report on qualified opinion which is stated as follows:
In our opinion, except for the above non-compliances:
a) the receipts, expenditure, investment of moneys and the acquisition and disposal of assets by the Town Council during the financial year are, in all material respects, in accordance with the provisions of the Act; and
b) proper accounting and other records have been kept, including records of all assets of the Town Council whether purchased, donated or otherwise.
ALJUNIED-HOUGANG-PUNGGOL EAST TOWN COUNCIL
02 July 2015