- The Rule of Law in Singapore is manupulated and abused by the very politicians who are charged to uphold it. You can view it in the context of the entireMessage 1 of 1 , Nov 11, 2007View Source
The Rule of Law in Singapore is manupulated and abused by the very politicians who are charged to uphold it.
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Watchdog wants more regular audits for Singapore's EDB. Mr Wang Says So
May 27, 2007
LAPSES at the Economic Development Board (EDB), including its financial operations, have prompted a parliamentary watchdog to urge the Auditor-General (AG) to give it more regular audits.
The Public Accounts Committee, made up of eight MPs, noted that the lapses were spotted when the 46-year-old agency underwent its first audit by the AG.
The audit led to 'a large number of observations' that the EDB had not established proper internal control procedures, the committee said in a report presented to Parliament on Thursday.
However, the committee was 'encouraged' by a letter it got from the EDB outlining the prompt action taken to address these lapses.
Every year, the committee pores over the financial statements of government agencies and the AG's annual report and seeks written explanations from agencies concerned. It then reports on the irregularities involving the use of public funds.
The EDB lapses involve mainly the way the agency is run and its financial operations, including its procurement and accounting systems.
The committee noted, among others, that EDB had delegated power to staff to grant loans and to borrow without reporting back to its governing board.
'Such practices were not in compliance with the law,' said the committee, which is headed by MP Cedric Foo.
More details from Reuters.
Frankly, what I find most shocking about this whole matter is not that the EDB has lapses in its "governance structure, financial operations, procurement and accounting systems" (as reported by Reuters).
The most shocking thing, to me, is that this is the first time the Auditor-General of Singapore has audited the EDB, in 46 years.
I wonder how many other government agencies or statutory boards there might be in Singapore, that the Auditor-General hasn't audited even once, in the past 5, 10, 15 or 20 years.
Who knows how many other NKFs we might discover. What HAS the Auditor-General been doing?
Posted by Mr Wang Says So
Indeed, it is SHOCKING.
Forty six years without an audit? An auditor's nightmare! And forty six years without an assessment of internal controls? Simply amazing.
With the UNSW debacle still fresh, one has to wonder what process was followed when public funds were allocated.
Where's the money? Where's the money? Sound familiar?
The question is why now? There is always an agenda behind this sudden discovery. Why starts with EDB announcement and not Temasek? EDB has $100m plus unaccountable and it is BILLIONS OF DOLLARS for Temasek.
Yeah, I'll like to see someone try to audit Temasek Holdings.
Goodness! I don't believe this!
For a country that prides itself on good governance, we have a stat board that has never been audited? In 46 years? That must have since policemen wore shorts!
Will Someone audit the AG please?! Does the AG not have its audit procedures?
Agreed kitkat. Who will watch the watchers? By the way, anyone knows if such audits are published for public consumption? I mean it's funded by taxpayers' money!
This is absurd. and baffling. what are the people up there doing?
Everytime something happens, the aftermath would be more skeletons being dug out and air dried in public.
Losing faith in the government is just a matter of time if there are more hiccups then cover-ups and we shall see whether Dynamo detergent whitens their shirt anymore.
Maybe, if we look at those who had been running the EDB show, we'll understand why it has never been audited all these years?
It is ultimately a family run business where there is complete trust in "their own people". Blue-eyed boys and girls and relatives who are deemed to be "perfect" and can do no wrong. Real talents.
I am disappointed that HE being a highly educated and shrewd manipulator, is still such a wussy in managing his own business.
What's so surprising about these guys?
The fact that our public/government offices had been wasting money had been screaming at us in the face for the past many years...
That the government office has no governance is not surprising
What is surprising is that there is actually a public accounts committee and a role of an auditor-general!!
I like their job of doing nothing yet be paid...
Oh crap. Its the same in each and every ministry here. Since when has anyone in Singapore talked about accountability? Only the sheeps believe that all is good in Singapore and there is no corruption...
Cmon, what can you say about a population that can be swayed by a progress package just before elections? They simply don't have the vision to see through simple vote buying politics.
Singapore is a classic example of the "Fence eating the crop".
Every organisations have a degree of "NKF". its up to the watchdogs to close one eye and the players' creativity to manipulate the system legally.
Thats why most of these players are actually lawyers themselves (TT Durai is a lawyer too), or hire capable lawyers, to help them siphon money from their organization by spotting loopholes.
its very easy in fact.
With an intention to cheat, just spend a few days looking through the rules and regulations of a system and you will get to find some flaws to capitalise on.
Maybe the code of ethics should be more emphasised in management and law degrees.
hahah. but if you can earn more money "legally" (it could be wrong morally), who cares about ethics and honour?
This is like Nazis Germany. Keep bombarding the people with lies and over time, the lies become the truth.
Auditor-General? Probably too busy figuring out how to spend his pay hike!
Spare the auditors a thought. the entire government is being audited by a very small outfit. The auditors cannot be at every government agency checking every single account.
Better they discover it now than never, given their very limited resources.
The auditor general's office is also undergoing change with a new AG and the employing of more manpower. give it some time.
And not forgetting another of LKY's favourite investment vehicle (even bigger than Temasek!), the GIC (Government Investment Corporation) which primarily invest the country's foreign reserve (more than US$140b). Both its internal process & financial activities which hav nvr evr been published publicly.
When regulators fail in themselves, those they regulate know opportunities are abound to exploit! Some called them "loopholes", aptly so. The question is; why are regulators not been held responsible for failing in their duties? Are their (regulators) higher ups negligent too?
"Spare the auditors a thought. the entire government is being audited by a very small outfit. the auditors cannot be at every government agency checking every single account. Better they discover it now than never, given their very limited resources."
Limited resources? Are you joking? A government-backed department's budget is always more than enough.
Better now or never? They have been cheating the people for 42 yrs for goodness sake.
The PAP should be replaced. better now or never.
Why drop this bombshell right after UNSW (University of New South Wales) pulled out?
With the onset of the failure of the UNSW deal, this announcement about EDB is for spinning purposes. It is to show that EDB is not perfect, the UNSW failure by EDB need to be acceptable to the public. Our national print media has already started to spin and to shift the blame away. They even have that Chua woman written a subtle piece of news of shifting blames.
It is about deflections.
They are one big family mah so no need to audit one another seriously. The AG office is just one wayang "for-show-only" unit. Toothless Tiger!
Singaporeans signed over their rights as citizens and their children's rights as citizens by electing a party that advocates the rule of mandarins over that of democratic representation.
Words like accountability, ethics, responsibility take on a different meaning under such circumstances.
This may not be a worst choice. After all, Singapore is unique and it'd take a leap in logic to say that what works for the West will work here.
That said, we'd have the next four years to tell.
From what I understand from a friend in the civil service, Stat boards have the choice of requesting for external audit to be done by either the auditor-general or appoint an external one, eg one of the big-4s..... so, things may not be as bad as it seems.
After all, in order for them to release the accounts, the figures have to be audited. And for the figures to mean anything, basic test of internal controls should be performed.
This is one of the reasons why AG took so long:
5. Does AGO audit all statutory boards?
AGO is empowered under the law to audit statutory boards. Under the law, AGO is the permanent auditor of MAS. For the other statutory boards, AGO audits them on a selective basis. Otherwise, they are audited by commercial auditors appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Auditor-General.
And Question #3 makes you wonder about the state of affairs that is really happening.
3. Is AGO part of the Ministry of Finance?
AGO is not part of the Ministry of Finance or, for that matter, any other ministry. It is an independent organ of state like the Judiciary and the Attorney-General's Chambers. The Auditor-General is appointed by the President. He submits his annual report to the President and the report is then presented to the Parliament.
But who selects them?
This is a not a country that operates by rule of law; it is one that operates by rule BY law. So don't be surprised that it is a myth that no one is above the law. Good governance in Singapore? That's just for the governed (who can't be trusted) and does not apply to the governors (who are deemed men of integrity by virtue of the 'rigorous' PAP process). The smart Singaporeans will not keep all their assets and cash in Singapore.
Mr Wang Says So said,
If AGO has been suffering for a long time from a lack of manpower, then this in itself represents a risk - that it isn't able to properly discharge its duties of auditing government ministries and agencies.
If EDB has been audited by external auditors and past reports have been showing up clean, then something probably also has gone wrong somewhere and we must ask whether the external auditors have done their job properly.
However, do you think the external auditors of Temasek would venture to report any shortcomings? I wonder.
This is just a red herring to distract from the billions lost. The report from the committee doesn't carry any punch anyway.
Standard phrase goes something like the errant officer(s) has/have been counselled. The committee is satisfied with the actions taken.
Where is the transparency and serious intent? $1,000 fine? They must be kidding.
No wonder we have to pay and pay.
At the end of the end, it boils down proper check and balances. This applies not only to EDB but to the government as well. So, who is going do do an audit on the government in $ingpapore, I wonder. Investigative journalism? The opposition parties? Independent committees?
It makes me wonder how reliable is that so called "self-renewal" (whatever that means) creature conceived by the PAP.
When President Ong Teng Cheong asked for a list of Temasek's investments and the people responsible told him that it will take 50 years to do it, what does that tell you?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Or rather, "Who watches the watchmen?"
What has the AGO been doing? Simple.
Giving themselves pay rise, I'd suppose.
I'm not surprised, actually. These days it is kinda of the acceptable norm. Just get on with life. With the NKF fiasco, the ministers' pay hikes, etc, what else can you expect?
The truth is cracks are appearing more and more. Seems to me like a dam is going to blow up some time soon.
kaffein: "The truth is cracks are appearing more and more. Seems to me like a dam is going to blow up some time soon."
Agreed. I just aim to get out before the dam burst.