Police probing questionable claims by ex-PA worker: Minister
The police are looking into the case of a former People's Association (PA) staff member who made questionable reimbursement claims for overseas purchases for Chingay 2017, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.
The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) said in July that the claims were accompanied by documents with "tell-tale signs" that cast doubt on their authenticity.
The officer had asked to be paid back for clothes and accessories bought overseas worth $142,000.
But there was no assurance that the reimbursement claimed by the officer was the actual amount he paid for the items, the AGO said.
Mr Chan, who is PA deputy chairman, told Parliament an independent panel to check on past overseas Chingay buys and payments had completed its investigations.
"While there was no conclusive evidence there was wrongdoing, there were concerns over the authenticity of some transactions," he said, adding that the PA has referred the matter to the police.
"We will decide on further steps after the police complete their investigations."
Mr Chan was responding to Mr Png Eng Huat (Hougang), who had asked about lapses by PA that were flagged in the AGO's report.
Mr Chan said the failure of the PA to factor in additional costs in the tenders for a Mid-Autumn Festival event in 2016 and one for Chinese New Year last year was an "administrative lapse" that has since been rectified.
Mr Chan said the PA was "well aware" of these additional expenses as it had been bearing the cost every year, which averaged $34,000 for each event from 2014 to 2016.
But he acknowledged the "inadequacy" of not considering the total costs in a tender.
Mr Chan added that contrary to how Mr Png phrased his question, the AGO's report did not make any mention of "additional costs that were hidden in the award of contracts to the overseas tenderer".
He also noted the AGO's observations for these events were not mentioned in past external audits.- RACHEL AU-YONG