Updated: 03/03/2014 21:04

Khaw Boon Wan says his ministry is studying framework for town council management to ensure better protection of funds

Khaw Boon Wan (© File Photo)

Khaw Boon Wan (File Photo)

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan says his ministry is studying the framework for town council management, to see what can be done to ensure better protection of public funds. 

He was speaking in Parliament in response to a question by Chua Chu Kang MP Alvin Yeo. 

Mr Yeo asked what measures are available to protect the interests of residents when Town Councils fail to observe good corporate governance and responsible accounting practices. 

Mr Khaw says there are only three offences in the Town Council Act. 

These relate to the misuse of the Town Council's Fund, contravening the rules for the Lift Upgrading Progamme, and the wilful withholding of information required by an auditor without reasonable cause. 

Mr Khaw says these offences would attract fines. 

"Should the town council fail to maintain the estate properly, or if there is a need to remove any imminent danger to residents, the Minister for National Development can intervene in the operations of the Town Council and to appoint someone else to perform the town council's duties."

In general, Mr Khaw says the Town Councils are expected to manage their own affairs and be accountable to their resident-voters. 

They're required for instance to keep proper accounts, which must be audited annually. 

The audited reports must be promptly submitted to the National Development Ministry for tabling to Parliament. 

Last month, the Finance Ministry directed the Auditor-General to conduct an audit of the Aljunied Hougang Punggol East Town Council's accounts. 

This was after an independent auditor issued a disclaimer of opinion on the town council's statement of accounts for the second year in a row.

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