PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback, part 3

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The above tender notice appeared in the Straits Times on 30 June 2010. (Thanks to a reader who did the sleuthing, who, I believe, would prefer to remain anonymous). You can click on it for a bigger version, but for your convenience, here is the text:

The Town Councils for the towns of : Aljunied, East Coast, Hong Kah, Jalan Besar, Jurong, Marine Parade, Sembawang, Tampines, Tanjong Pagar, West Coast, Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang, Bishan-Toa Payoh, Holland-Bukit Panjang, Pasir Ris-Punggol

TENDER NOTICE

Project: Contract for the purchase of the developed application software

Eligibility and Financial Grade: Experienced and reputable Company with relevant track record

Closing Date: 14 Jul 2010

The Town Councils reserve their rights not to accept the lowest or any tender without assigning any reason thereof.

No contract shall be awarded to a contractor if the contractor or any of its directors and/or employees have been debarred by the Town Councils and/or Statuary Boards and/or Government Bodies from participating in the same or all types of contracts. Any contractors who are currently disbarred shall not be eligible to participate in this tender. 

Tender Documents of $214/- per set (inclusive of GST), can be obtained from: East Coast Town Council. Blk 206 Bedok North St 1 #01-353 Singapore 460206.

The payment shall be made by crossed cheque payable to “East Coast Town Council”.

I cannot understand how a $2 company that AIM Pte Ltd is, which doesn’t even have a corporate website, meets the tender requirement of an “Experienced and reputable Company with relevant track record”.

Next, I wanted to take a look at the accounts of East Coast Town Council to see if there are any traces of the money flow. Getting to the accounts was an adventure!

When I got to http://www.ectc.org.sg/annualreport.html, I saw this page. Immediately, it struck me that the Financial Report for 2010/2011 (which would be the period I am interested in) was missing!

pic_201212_28small

By chance, I scrolled around and found that by clicking the 2009/2010 link, I could pull up the 2010/2011 report

They couldn’t even get their hyperlink labels right.

Anyway, I couldn’t see — albeit that it was only a quick look — any notes in the accounts that referred to the sale of the software,  except a brief mention in Note 24 that the Town Council was committed to making payments for operating lease of office premises and computer services within a term of more than one year and “the current rent payable on the leases range from $785 to $17,654 per month.” The ‘$785′ figure ties in with what Teo Ho Pin said AIM was charging each town council up till 31 October 2011.

See also previous articles: PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback and PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback, part 2.

101 Responses to “PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback, part 3”


  1. 2 TheMonk 30 December 2012 at 17:28

    What sort of track record did AIM have prior to applying for the contract? We need answers here.

    As a layman, I would think that you wouldn’t sell a developed software paid for by public money to a company that has but a virtual office!

    I’m also puzzled why the three-men team comprising ex-MPs took part in the tender exercise. What made them think they would stand a chance? Unless you’re sufficiently confident of meeting the requirement of an “experienced and reputable Company”, you wouldn’t want to go through the trouble, would you?

    Unless, of course, you knew you were going to get it.

    • 3 Kelong@gmail.com 30 December 2012 at 18:18

      “The Town Councils reserve their rights not to accept the lowest or any tender without assigning any reason thereof.”

      From what I know, this is totally at odds with how government tenders are awarded where full reasons have to be provided to justify why the tender was not awarded to the lowest bid.

      Oh, and the tender notice certainly made clear what the whole tender exercise was about – purchase of *the* developed application software. Microsoft Office?

      • 4 Corruption 30 December 2012 at 23:45

        Good point. Why did they phrase the project title this way? Why did it only mention “purchase” and not “lease back”? Which company in the right mind would purchase something from the town council without benefit? Did they purposely phrased it in such manner to avoid real companies from getting interested in the tender? Can Teo tell us the names of those companies that bothered to participate in the tender?

  2. 5 Funny 30 December 2012 at 17:52

    That teo guy said that answers to some of the questions will be provided in a few days as reported in the newspaper. It has been 2 days since and we are still not hearing anything from his mouth. Shouldn’t he and his gang COME CLEAN with the citizens!

    • 6 John 30 December 2012 at 19:34

      They are preparing their story and tying up loose ends, which may include taking down past financial reports and rewriting them.

    • 7 Chanel 30 December 2012 at 21:56

      If there wasn’t any hanky panky going on, Teo should have the answers readily available. He wouldn’t need to evade Sylvia Lim’s question posed to him a week ago

  3. 9 Lye Khuen Way 30 December 2012 at 18:26

    Dr Teo did said in a few days time. In another two days, it would be in the New Year. So I am pessimistically confident that tomorrow, on the last day of the year, all would be revealed. In other words, fat hope, the PAP will come clean with all the answers we, as citizens would expect from our Town Councillors on this rather meaningless tender exercise.

    Then again, I just could be pleasantly surprised . That would be great.

  4. 10 Jake 30 December 2012 at 18:34

    Teo Ho Pin’s comments in May 2011 on how conflicts of interest in tenders were being managed:

    Bukit Panjang MP Teo Ho Pin, who has been the coordinating chairman among PAP town councils, reiterated: “We must comply with the Ministry of National Development (MND) guidelines if there is a conflict of interest among our councillors or staff when tendering for contracts.” (Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1132009/1/.html)

    One wonders what MND guidelines enabled AIM to buy up the IT system as the sole bidder.

  5. 11 Corruption 30 December 2012 at 19:07

    There is prima facie evidence of corruption. CPIB waiting for new year???

  6. 13 amk resident 30 December 2012 at 19:29

    With regards to your experience of finding those annual reports, I would assume these should be made readily available by each and every town council. I’m bewildered you took so much trouble.

    There should be a standard format of presentation in the accounts and the reports should be easily accessible by anyone from a well-known and standard location or repository.

    Especially when dealing with public funds, there needs to 100% accountability and transparency.

  7. 14 ALL 30 December 2012 at 20:20

    Shouldn’t the auditors flag this sale transaction for the financial report ending FY2010 since this is an irregular item? Or was the auditor also told to keep quiet?

  8. 15 Who is director? 30 December 2012 at 20:28

    That it is only a $2 company doesn’t make it any less experienced or reputable.

    It also depends on who the directors are, and whether they are experienced and reputable. If they are, then of course the company will logically also be so, isn’t it?

    So what’s the fuss?

    • 16 yawningbread 30 December 2012 at 23:05

      Perhaps you can google up the CVs of the 3 directors of AIM and see if they have deep knowledge and experience of IT. The company information and directors’ names can be found here, courtesy TRemeritus.com: http://www.tremeritus.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Action-Information-Management.pdf?9804ec

      • 17 Anon 1R70 31 December 2012 at 07:48

        While this doesn’t change the fact that AIM looks like a shell company,
        Chandra Das and Lau Ping Sum are directors of Neratel, which is a subsidiary of a Norwegian telecommunications company. It also seems to provide ‘Retail Payment Solutions’. This can be found on their website, which has not been updated since 2003! They do have the latest reports however.
        http://www.neratel.com.sg/

        Furthermore, according to Reuters’ profile on Lau Ping Sum, he has served as head of IT in at least two companies.
        http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/officerProfile?symbol=HUAN.SI&officerId=335522

        Couldn’t find anything IT related on Chew Heng Ching.

        At least if it is a shell company, they have experienced people on board :)

    • 18 Jake 31 December 2012 at 01:32

      If they had any relevant experience, why are they subcontracting to NCS? If they subcontracted, what was AIM’s role in managing the IT system? Of course, the $2 paid up capital isn’t the issue. The issue was what expertise and services AIM brings to the table. On the evidence so far, it would appear that the answer is none.

    • 19 Travis 31 December 2012 at 02:28

      Mmhmm, yeah, the company has 3 directors, all of whom are related to the PAP with ZERO employees. In addition, their registered address is shared by thousands of others.

      If that’s your definition of “reputable and experienced” then erm, okay.

    • 20 Chanel 31 December 2012 at 10:56

      You mean the directors themselves can/will get their hands dirty doing the grunt work?? You mean a company can function without any staff, apart from directors?

    • 21 heart landers 1 January 2013 at 08:40

      You are very funnyly illogical man.

  9. 22 Armin 30 December 2012 at 21:06

    And were the directors of AIM scanning the tender pages, noticed this ever-so-vague “Contract for the purchase of the developed application software”, and realised it was something that was really up their professional business alley? Or were they alerted to it by an insider, and were ready to jump in the moment the formal tender notice appeared?

    Hmmm … more and more intriguing.

    • 23 nateews 30 December 2012 at 23:47

      Not only did AIM manage to respond to this vaguely described tender notice, they were also able to add in an adverse clause of one month notice of termination if there was a ‘material change’ in the composition of a town council. Unbelievable!

    • 24 Kelongleong 30 December 2012 at 23:51

      Bromptongate. Detailed to the point of excluding all others. AIMgate. Vague to the aim of confusing all others. Two extremes, one goal, one conclusion, one outcome.

  10. 25 AXW 30 December 2012 at 21:09

    Do we know how our sleuth found this? I tried but couldn’t get it from the online archive. Seems national library don’t have either?

  11. 26 Perry 30 December 2012 at 21:18

    Incest is bad enough. The inbreeding affects all of us.

  12. 27 Chanel 30 December 2012 at 21:54

    So now we have even more smoking guns:

    1) The “tender” lasted just 14 days (including Saturdays and Sundays). Why were the 14 town councils in such a hurry to sell the IT system??? Did they need the $140,000 cash? No, the town councils were/are flushed with cash. Was NCS doing a lousy job maintaining the system? No, because AIM immediately outsourced the maintenance function to NCS after purchasing the system.

    2) The town councils “reserve their rights not to accept……any tender…..” Were the bids from the other 4 un-named companies rejected under this provision?

    3) AIM did/does not seem to meet the stated eligibility criteria.

  13. 28 Disgusted 30 December 2012 at 21:57

    This story feels just like buying meat from the supermarket, getting home to put it into the fridge and finding a sticker at the bottom saying “this brand of meat, which is not the MegaMarket House Brand, now comes with added maggots!” A sticker that was put there by MegaMarket, mind you (and how would they know?)

    Turn the meat over and…. well, you’ll never shop the same way at that supermarket chain again. But rightly so: we need to get to the bottom of this to find out just how deep the PAP-induced rot is, and the AHTC should show some mettle and keep pushing to the conclusion.

  14. 29 Dave 30 December 2012 at 22:15

    Why would the town councils invite tenders and then give the tendering company the right to terminate if there is a change in council composition? This is not common in sale leaseback transactions. Termination rights would be severely restricted. So were there other motivations?

  15. 30 honeypotraider 30 December 2012 at 22:50

    “There is no way a Minister can avoid investigations and a trial if there is evidence to support one”.
    - then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, quoted in the Straits Times, Jan 27, 1987

  16. 31 Kok 30 December 2012 at 23:14

    [quote]
    Coordinating Chairman of 14 PAP TCs Dr Teo Ho Pin said the TCMS owned and used by them was developed by National Computer Services Pte Ltd.

    In 2010, PAP TCs called an open tender to sell the ownership of the developed application software.
    [/unquote]
    I presume that the above (In 2010…application software) was part of what Teo Ho Pin said.

    Since he was so good at providing the details of what transpired between AHTC and AIM vis-a-vis the town council software (and demanded Sylvia to come clean with the facts), why was he so vague about the date of the tender notice, mentioning only the year?

  17. 32 yawningbread 30 December 2012 at 23:55

    The Online Citizen has a critique of this tender notice. Apparently it breaches several rules. See http://theonlinecitizen.com/2012/12/the-curious-case-of-the-tender-notice-with-no-details/

  18. 33 Steve Wu 30 December 2012 at 23:56

    Hi Alex,

    It turns out there is a paper trail for these things. Please see (Page 12 item 1.156) of
    http://www.parliament.gov.sg/sites/default/files/MONDAY,%2010%20OCTOBER%202011_0.pdf

    There’s a confirmation that the original East Coast Town Council’s Audited Financial Statements, Auditors’ Report and Annual Report 2010/2011 was presented to Parliament on 7 October 2011 (S. 92 of 2011).

    There are two related points.
    1. There is a public copy of the said annual report, not least in the Parliamentary proceedings. Hence, if it were the intent of ECTC to withdraw the web copy, then it was done without this understanding and completely pointless.

    2. As I have not sighted nor studied the said report, I am not making any allegation of irregularity at this point. However, once the report or any document is presented to Parliament, then section 31(o) of the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act (Cap 217) applies

    31 (o) No person shall present to Parliament or a committee any false, untrue, fabricated or falsified document with intent to deceive Parliament or a committee;

    The offence attracts a serious penalty under section 36(b)

    36(b) for a contravention of section 31(d), (o), (p) or (q), to a fine not exceeding $7,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3
    years or to both; and

    • 34 Chanel 31 December 2012 at 11:29

      Steve Wu,

      The parliamentary document on presentation of town councils’ audited accounts does not mean anything. For example, it does not guarantee the absence of any fraudulent actions by the councilors. It does not add any audit value beyond the works of what the respective town council auditors have performed.

      Note that the town councils generally engages relatively unknown auditors…..not any of the Big 4 accounting firm.

  19. 36 Anon J52h 31 December 2012 at 05:18

    More people should share your blog posts around

  20. 37 Edmund Khor 31 December 2012 at 07:05

    The Chairman of the East Coast TC which put out the notice is Jessica Tan who is from the IT industry. She holds a senior position in Microsoft and worked for IBM for more than 20 years..
    see http://www.parliament.gov.sg/mp/jessica-tan-soon-neo?viewcv=Jessica%20Tan%20Soon%20Neo

  21. 38 WhiteWash 31 December 2012 at 08:13

    PAP Spin doctors are the best. Let’s wait for their response to see the best tall tales.
    BTW, does this mean that this case will set a precedent for all CPIB cases including Bromptongate whereby the accused can follow the same arguments that PAP will spin soon on the compliance of tender requirements & selection? Very sure, PAP will come out clean & white, virginal & innocent at its best. (sarcasm for those who don’t get it)

  22. 39 Perry 31 December 2012 at 08:27

    Depressing stuff. I think the most they can do is come out figures to show this is not as lucrative a deal as we imagine. That will still beg the question, why do it at all ? Out of the goodness of their hearts ? There are a whole bunch of entities that need to be put under the spotlight. The TC management, AIM obviously and even the IT company contracted to maintain this. It is ironic that all this surfaced because of questions of good governance being raised. I guess be careful of where you point.

  23. 40 First World Parliament 31 December 2012 at 09:58

    Alex, have you ever taught of joining politics, perhaps in a supporting role? I’ve always liked your analyses of issues and a particular camp in Singapore politics needs brains like yours. :)

    • 41 henry 31 December 2012 at 11:44

      Oh! no!

      Please, Alex, do not join parliament!
      The work that you do now is very relevant, very crucial and effective as is.

      He is perhaps the only person in Singapore who has integrity and as neutral as can be presenting only facts and asking questions that begs for answers.
      The time and effort that is being spent to research documents, evidence is something that he has honed. His writings are as succinct as it gets.

      Being in parliament will subject him to restrictions on what to write, say and even do.

      I am very grateful to Alex for sharing so much.. he has indeed earned a place to mark the civic movement here. Issues from Politics, Law, Human rights and the pursuit of a Singapore consciousness.

      Stay where you are Alex, your work is very effective here in cyberspace and also on the ground. Thank you!

  24. 42 Descended 31 December 2012 at 09:59

    Mr Teo…. wah lau…. why wayang until like that???? something wrong with your brain at that time or what???? Maybe nothing wrong but its just you.

  25. 43 Alan 31 December 2012 at 10:28

    Teo asked WP to come clean. Now TOC has posed 6 questions for Teo himself to answer. Now I am really interested whether PAP will walk the talk about tranparency or will try to evade answering these questions ?

    If they cannot provide the answers convincingly, then I can only conclude that PAP must really be in deep shit for getting involved in both corrupt & covert activities against public’s interests.

  26. 44 Eric 31 December 2012 at 10:35

    1. “ACTION” Information Management pretty much says everything on who they report to
    2.Obvious conflict of interest between two PAP owned organizations
    3.Check on AIM date of inception, then we can probably guess the reason why they wanted to sell the solution.

  27. 45 PM's Top National Project 31 December 2012 at 11:31

    Now we can see the worms crawling out of the can… how dangerous they can be. No wonder PM is so busy with so many national projects. This must be the top priority…

  28. 46 Perplexed 31 December 2012 at 11:32

    If the contract is for Purchase of SW, shouldn’t they accept the highest bid ?

  29. 48 Duh 31 December 2012 at 12:03

    I guess people are so shocked bcos they got strong evidence to suggests cronyism among the PAP and its affiliates (NUS, PA etc)… but didn’t we already know this? Wasn’t the inherent lack of transparency aimed to cover up the more cases of cronyism and ‘special’ privileges in awarding contracts? Aren’t there already whispers by people in the know about such practices? Are most Singaporeans in denial about this and struggle to believe that the PAP has after all been doing a perfect PR job in presenting itself as whiter than white?

    The justification of high salaries to keep PAP honest was flawed since Day One. It is amazing the kind of nonsensical reasons they cite just to feed their own greed and it is equally amazing (to me) that some Singaporeans actually buy those reasons.

    I hope at least the rude shock of this event can wake up some of those politically slumbering Singaporeans.

  30. 49 Authority 31 December 2012 at 13:05

    I do not believe an investigation by any of the government bodies will find any wrong doing. The only way is for the people to demand an independent enquiry into the whole affair and for the TCs to be audited. In addition the time is now right for activist to push for the Freedom if Information Act. It is should by now be obvious that the truth is being hidden by a lack of transparency and accountability and the abuse of OSA

  31. 50 Weiyang 31 December 2012 at 13:22

    do you reckon this case warrants a CPIB investigation? Anonymous complaints probably won’t go anywhere though.

    http://app.cpib.gov.sg/cpib_new/user/default.aspx?pgId=216

  32. 51 So very PAP 31 December 2012 at 13:31

    The ability to anticipate problems is what I a-d-m-i-r-e of the PAP. If the whole point of selling the town council software to AIM via a tender was to fix the opposition, then the PAP is indeed very far-sighted, because it had anticipated the loss of a GRC.

    • 52 Anon 6u8E 1 January 2013 at 19:07

      Can you imagine what they would do if they anticipate losing their majority in parliament; hence, possible loss of right to govern?

  33. 53 Brandon 31 December 2012 at 13:31

    A pretty good summary from, lo and behold, The New Paper.

    http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20121230-392369/4.html

    [Snip]

    Are any laws broken in this whole saga?

    “I don’t see any irregularity,” said lawyer M. Lukshumayeh.

    “There was a tender process. There were interested parties, but, for whatever reason, only one party submitted a bid.

    “I don’t see any irregularity about it. It’s up to the organisation to accept the bid or reject it. In this case, it accepted it.”

    On Monday, in a letter addressed to the media, chairman Chandra Das said AIM’s directors “do not receive directors’ fees or any other benefits”.

    The New Paper understands that the company has only two part-time staff.

    [Snip]

    • 54 Aha 1 January 2013 at 00:12

      The point is not whether there’s any irregularity. Of course, the PAP is not so stupid to use unlawful means and be caught.

      But there’s something wrong when a piece of software that originally belonged to 14 town councils was sold to a company with a virtual address and which does not seem to have any credible track record.

      What was the motivation for the sale?

      And if the whole exercise was to punish the opposition, then people like myself are alarmed because it depicts a very small minded, ungracious and revengeful party – qualities that are starkly in contrast to a party that claims to have high standards of honesty and integrity.

  34. 55 Brandon 31 December 2012 at 13:35

    Latest from TNP. Deflections.

    [Snip]

    Mr Inderjit Singh, an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, also felt that the matter was being politicised and pointed out that the “real issue here is the performance of the town council”.

    Former MP Ho Geok Choo told The New Paper that it made sense for the town councils to centralise their computing and financial systems and reap economies of scale.

    “The core job of MPs and town councils is not IT and it would be more efficient to outsource this role,” she said.

    As for AIM being the only vendor which submitted the tender, Madam Ho said: “I suppose the other parties were savvy in that there was not much money to be made.”

    …. All this means little to taxi driver B.K. Tan, who pays monthly conservancy charges of $84.60 to Jurong Town Council.

    Said the cabby: “I care that my estate is clean, well-managed and maintained.”

    [Snip]

    • 56 Tommy 2 January 2013 at 17:25

      PAP can always depend on SPH newspapers such as TNP and ST to whitewash any wrongdoings

    • 57 AGC 2 January 2013 at 17:30

      Former MP Ho Geok Choo chooses to ignore the fact that the IT system was already outsourced to NCS prior to the sale to AIM.

      Inderjit Singh should know that good corporate governance is as important (if not more) as operational performance of a town council. In fact, corporate governance is one of the criteria MND uses to evaluate town councils. Is MP Singh implying that as long as a town council’s operations run smoothly, the councilors can embezzle money??

  35. 58 Felix 31 December 2012 at 16:16

    “The Town Councils reserve their rights not to accept the lowest or any tender without assigning any reason thereof”

    Preposterous! This is the sale of their “developed application software”. Shouldn’t it be selling to the highest bidder?

  36. 59 BillyMa 31 December 2012 at 16:43

    The whole problem here is that PAP believe that every single cent of public money belong them & PAP can do whatever & however they want with it.

    This behaviour probably comes about because PAP has been in absolute power for far too long & knows that no one can touch them.

    This is the sad part of the story of this country.

  37. 60 Cynical skeptics 31 December 2012 at 18:18

    Brompton bike scandal comes to mind. Former MPs and present MPs scratching each others back, are they milking the system at the expense of taxpayers?
    The difference in Brompton gate is that those involved were small fries so they were promptly investigated and fried while this AIM gate involved the higher echelons of the country elite circle.
    Some of commenters here mention CPIB is to investigate this AIM gate. all these so called independent institutions (CPIB, CAD, etc) report to one single man in the country -the PM. I can’t help but feel cynical about it because I don’t believe CPIB would investigate a case which can implicate the PAP party. Sorry man – those who hoped for CPIB to act may be sorely disappointed. Of course, I hope to be proven wrong.

  38. 61 MikeZeng 31 December 2012 at 18:44

    Latest…..Read TOC’s latest posting. They have asked all hdb residents online to email a complaint on this serious matter to their individual MPs.
    I’ve already emailed my MP TCH. Hope there will be a deluge of complaints from heartlanders to then PAP MPs soon. Don’t let them get away with this! It’s our money!

  39. 62 George 31 December 2012 at 19:24

    “Contract for the purchase of the developed application software”

    Is there a problem with the tender here? The description is such that possibly only two parties would have been privy to what the ‘developed software’ is – namely, AIM and NCS.

    The latter may not even be aware unless it has been consulted or got winds of it through its staff members servicing the town councils.

    So it appears that the town councils had gone by the letter of the law rather than the spirit – they have ‘fulfilled’ the letter of the law but left out significant material details that really made the entire exercise meaningless. What firm would fork out $214 for tender documents without the slightest idea of what the tender is about?

    The bald information also suggests that the town councils were acutely aware of the adverse publicity that the tender would attract from Singaporeans had more explicit details have been provided. So, the TCs actually knew it was something that cannot see the light of day with provoking public interest.

  40. 63 kd lang 31 December 2012 at 20:03

    There is no difference between this and the use of HDB upgrading as incentive to vote. If one was acceptable for so long why not this?

    • 64 leong 2 January 2013 at 15:59

      Acceptable as to whom? Just because Pappies made it a policy doesn’t mean it is acceptable by citizens.
      I am sure if this is put to vote in the referendum, the majority would have rejected it .even from those who benefited.
      While the upgrading scheme was opening declared and criticised, the TC
      thing is more a hush hush affair, which makes it so full of suspicions. Like this tender notice (full of loopholes ) just to show it is complying with the law.
      In fact, it would not have even come to light if the PAP had not shot themselves in the foot by deriding Aljunied TC’s corporate governance.

  41. 65 KJ 31 December 2012 at 21:53

    I will lay out a plausible scenario.

    The town councils had paid NCS to develop software that is essentially a customised user interface to a database.

    Somebody thought that the software could be monetised. TCs cannot sell the software via retail as they cannot be liable for standard sales and service conditions. They then tried to call for a tender to “price” it.

    I believe that NCS cannot sell the software as the original agreement may have limited them to writing the code and surrendering the rights, which is a common condition for paying handsomely for custom code. NCS could have bought the rights back (in the tender) but it may have been easier/cheaper for them to rewrite it from scratch.

    Looking at the ACRA record of AIM is quite illuminating. Company was registered in 1991. Mr Lau became the oldest surviving registered director in 1998. Mr Chandra Das and Mr Chew joined in March 2010, less than half a year before tender.

    I tend to look at this positively as a big picture benefit when it was first conceptualised. It can be likened to the spinning off/setting up of CPG, Sembcorp, JCPL. A closer example would be the patronage of CNA. The original intention may be that of setting up a new IT consultancy specialty cottage industry in Singapore, that of township management software.

    What triggered the mess would probably be some disagreement between Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Chandra Das. He may have used a tone of superiority and that might have gotten her feathers all riled up.

    On a side note, it is sad that town councils cannot utilise GeBIZ. Just saving newspaper advertisement costs and having a wider reach via that system may help shave their bills.

    • 66 JG 1 January 2013 at 07:29

      We see what we want to see.

      Lets switch sides for a second. Lets imagine this is WP forming an “AIM” and selling the software, and the 3 directors are LTK, Sylvia and someone else. And this saga came to light accidentally by the PAP.

      Will you still look at things this way?

      Will the ST refrain from commenting on this for days? Look at the way they hounded Saw [Yawning Bread: Do you mean Yaw?] when rumors (yes, RUMORS) arose of his infidelity. Front page news, photos, 2-3 pages coverage, daily.

      All CSJ did was, and allegedly according to CSJ himself with the knowledge of the University, used varsity postage to send his wife’s thesis overseas. And that became the basis of a major transgression – a “character flaw” and harshly dealt with. Isn’t this AIM saga something bigger?

      In the past, the PAP can do what it wants to do and get away with it, because in part, it was delivering on raising the people’s standard of living (and the people feel it) and in part because there’s no Internet. So everything gets buried. But now, its performance is at best just average, with flaws and mistakes galore; and there’s the Internet.

      A die hard supporter will always give the benefit of the doubt, regardless of the facts. But I think most objective minded Singaporeans can see an Emperor with no clothes, when he sees one.

      • 67 KJ 1 January 2013 at 18:43

        In a competitive world, one makes use of any advantage to get ahead. Ask yourself, if you had power or money, would you not try your best to hold on to them?

        Let us not kid ourselves, truly selfless people are few and far between.

    • 68 Funny 1 January 2013 at 15:57

      Everybody and anybody can make one million and one assumptions as to what actually took place. At the end of the day non is wiser. All we need and want is for the pap to answer those questions that everybody is asking.

    • 69 ALL 1 January 2013 at 22:44

      I agree with what JG has said. If the system was financed by Govt’s budget, which came from the taxpayers’ monies, I suppose there is no issue in the disposal. In this case, the system was financed by the residents’ contributions in service/conservancy fees. What right does the PAP Govt has in spinning off the system?

    • 70 Shih-Tung Ngiam 2 January 2013 at 00:09

      I considered this explanation too, but general purpose accounting software is a commodity these days. There’s no money to be made in it. Whatever value is in this software is that it is customised to the legal and operational needs of Singapore Town Councils. But by the same token, it is absolutely not monetisable overseas because no other municipality will have exactly the same legislative and policy requirements as Singapore. Once you have to customise for some other country, you might as well start from scratch (which is exactly the approach you think NCS would take).

      There is absolutely no legitimate business purpose in this transaction. Yes, sale-and-lease-backs are not unusual for companies who want to convert their assets to cash, but PAP TCs are not cash-strapped. In any case, $140,000 is peanuts. Split among 14 TCs, that’s $10,000 apiece which is insignificant compared to one TC’s (East Coast) assets of $75 million.

      • 71 Shih-Tung Ngiam 2 January 2013 at 01:01

        There is another odd thing about the accounts. I’m no accountant, but if they did actually sell the software to AIM, there should be an entry for “Proceeds on disposal of plant and equipment” in the cash flow statement (software is capitalised so its sale would be considered a disposal of P&E). But there isn’t any entry for 2010/2011 even though there is a $180 entry for 2009/2010 (See ECTC’s 2010/2011 report). So what did ECTC and the other town councils get in return for giving up the ownership of their software ? Did they get anything ? Your hypothesis that the software wasn’t actually sold for the $140,000 “offered” by AIM may be correct. But even a $1 sale would have to be recorded in the accounts. And if there wasn’t actually any consideration….. Was the sale valid ?

      • 72 Funny 2 January 2013 at 17:50

        I think it could be this, you think it could be that, he thinks it must be this, she thinks it have to be that. . . . .none of us is wiser, right? We just need that teo guy to open his mouth and come clean with all Singaporeans. It is almost a week since it was reported that he will provide answers to some of the questions. Isn’t there anything at all that we can do to demand answers in the next few days?

  42. 73 Rabbit 31 December 2012 at 22:39

    This is indeed a worrying piece of news as I see WP has picked up a piece of bone dropped from PAP’s skeleton, which than remind us of our late Ong Teng Cheong, who had similar doubts about PAP’s accountability.

    Singaporeans should see beyond the AIM saga which PAP may defend with entertaining excuses in the next few days (stay tuned). If Brotompgate was defended as isolated incident, AIM saga can no longer support the same lame excuses and people should believe it may be a trend inside the ruling party’s work. Thus Teo Ho Pin should not pretend he needs few more days “to investigate” the real reason. The real reason is simple, LHL open admittance that his party is not going to act gentlemen if they lose support from voters. When LKY threatened Aljunied residents to regret and repent, the legitimacy of whole PAP transactions since they deprived opposition wards the opportunity of lift upgrading is already telling of what lies beneath the mind of PAP. As such, AIM’s action is not remote from the people’s speculation. Fortunately, WP has the capability, thru past experience, to develop its own software. Other opposition parties may not have the privilege if they win a GRC and AIM’s decision to terminate the contract may cause severe inconveniences to people residing in those opposition wards which are the crux of the questions Teo Ho Pin should come clean with.

    If other people have done similar things to PAP, LKY would have mobilized CID, CAD and ISD immediately and made the scum out of the 3 AIM’s directors in front of national state media. Today, PAPee is stooping low to try and exonerate itself of its own scandals and msm’s silence is deafening. Are Singaporeans so dumb not to see through such scheming govt, so rooted into our system that could cripple Singaporeans’ existence if PAP decided its interest is above the rest of us while Singaporeans continue to pay and vote for such unethical govt?

    Adding insult to the saga, information can be easily wiped or made difficult from computer screen (to hide shameful evidence?) and monster numbers can be moved at whims and fancies out of the screen (or country?) if they deemed fit to protect the image of someone higher than the ivory tower?. Are we not already seeing a rogue government without needing a freak election result? I suspect there could be more damage done already, and not disclosed until we bring in more opposition into parliament, to dig out more scary stories, which of course the ruling party is not going to let it happen at all cost again. I think we have had enough of bearing from this kind of govt.

  43. 74 Perry 1 January 2013 at 01:25

    @KJ
    Do you have any experience with Gebiz ? For many such tenders the “wider reach ” is in potential only. Bromptongate is only one of many examples.

    • 75 KJ 1 January 2013 at 18:36

      The intent of GeBIZ is to facilitate the government to get a good deal. How that can be subverted just means that better processes need to be in place. Auditor General/MOF has already made recommendations based on that.

  44. 76 Perry 1 January 2013 at 01:32

    Has anybody asked the question yet?Are political parties supposed to run businesses at all ? And to do business amongst themselves using public monies ?

    • 77 The 2 January 2013 at 09:05

      The answer is – PAP can legitimately claimed that all 3 directors are ex-PAP MPs, and so not part of the political party. Of course we all know where the interests of these directors lie, and they know which side of the bread is buttered.

  45. 78 Equity 1 January 2013 at 07:47

    I have always wonder why PAP, an accomplished political party with good track record (thanks to the first generation party cadres), resort to such low-level and crass tactics. Why do they feel so insecure? If they do a good job of sincerely taking care of S’poreans, we would continue to vote for them in huge numbers. Is sabotaging political opponents the only way they know they win elections??

    S’poreans generally want fairness. So when PAP play downright dirty against opposition parties, it will backfire on PAP. If sabotaging WP is the only way PAP think it could win back Aljunied, then something must be very wrong in PAP !!!

    • 79 henry 1 January 2013 at 14:04

      Sabotage is a perfectly accepted strategy in politics.

      It has been deployed for eons and was deployed in the 1950s with one wily unionist and its legal counsel. History offers very important lessons in understanding politics and its purpose.

      Sabotage is taking place right now.. among the parties jostling for posture in a yet undeclared by-election. Unfortunately, when elephants play, dance and fight, the grass will suffer regardless.

  46. 82 curious 1 January 2013 at 10:14

    i’m very interested to know what else they’ve sold off, or packed away and under what guise…would it be better to know now, disappointing, ugly and messy it’ll be, or wait till the shit hits the fan to realised the coffers are *gasp* empty?

  47. 84 Concern Citizen 1 January 2013 at 13:24

    The software was developed and most likely paid by all the TCs, however once an opposition takes over any TC, they will have the rights to use the software and therefore the software has to be transferred to a third-party who can independently terminate the use of the software. But how do you tansfer such a software where it will be managed by a company that will take its orders for PAP. That is where I think AIM can into the picture. It managed the software but does not provide the maintenance of the software as the software is still maintain by NCS.

    If what I have stated above is true, then the question is there any wrongdoing?

    If the software were developed and paid by PAP and not by the TCs, then I would think they would have the rights to full ownership and usage of the software and also the rights to exclude anyone from using the software. However the software must have been paid by the TCs and therefor public funds were used and any party who managed the TC should have the rights to the software.

    Where there any intention to cheat or enrich any particular person, I do not think this was the intention. It is the rights of who can use the software, I think was the intended purpose of selling the software away.

    This is just my speculation and I do hope that Dr Ho would clarify the matter in detail.

    • 85 ALL 1 January 2013 at 22:40

      The question is: do the town council managers in their capacity as manager/agent for the residents have the right to dispose of something which belongs to the residents by virtue of the funding?

      • 86 Concern Citizen 3 January 2013 at 09:41

        Let me assume that the intention of the transfer of IP rights to AIM, was well intended. Also assuming that the main aim of this exercise was to ensure that the opposition do not end up holding part of the IP rights and therefore, the rights of the software was sold to AIM.

        So what is the one key question to ask? I believe it is :

        How much was paid to developed the software?

        With this question being answered then you will know if there was any wrongdoing, misjudgement or not. Why this question.

        Base on what on the information gather so far and based of some assumptions.

        Say for easy computation the software cost SGD 1.4 mil to develop, where each of the 14 TCs paid SGD 100,000. Assume that the software was to last for 5 years and then a new software was to be acquired.

        Based on the assumption above, take Aljuined TC, they paid SGD 100,000 and expected to use the software for 5 years, and after one year the software was withdrawed from then shouldn’t the TC be refunded the outstanding SGD 80,000 (4 years not in use).

        But based of facts, AIM did not value the software at SGD 1.4 mil but SGD 140,000 and after one year of use the software had no value (after Oct 2011 AIM will not charge any of the TCs any fees).

        So the first question to ask is: How much was paid to develop the software?

        2nd Question, Why AIM valued the usefullness of the software for one year and is this the standard practice.

        These 2 questions, will get to the bottom of the whole saga.

  48. 87 Felix 1 January 2013 at 14:05

    People tend to think sinkies are daft. But our pap govt are acting like pasar malam gangsters extorting protection monies left, right, centre. No one dare to touch them. You do, you get beaten up (one threatens with hatchet). But the Internet citizens are slowly rising up, armed with information never before available and a new voice (stuff the main stream). As we know, gangster can be overcome, they were eliminated. These bunch, albeit legit, will take a helluva effort to tame, but it can be done. Forward democracy fighters!

  49. 88 Perry 1 January 2013 at 15:57

    @kd lang
    The carrot of upgrading for votes is not acceptable. This case is not acceptable either. However it is understandable that anyone who thinks the former is right will indulge in the latter.

  50. 89 Perry 1 January 2013 at 16:12

    @Equity
    The problem with the MIW is that for all the good they have done in the past, nobody seems to like them. Party members won’t openly reveal themselves. When have you heard someone showing open enthusiasm for their cause. Admiration is shown for individual members especially the Old Guard.
    This is a very Nixonian predicament. The awareness of this can cause extreme paranoia. One can say “who cares” but it must rankle. could this be the reason they need to ” fix” the opposition ?

    • 90 Jake 2 January 2013 at 14:22

      The problem with them now is not just disaffection but the fact that they haven’t been able to deliver good policy outcomes. This has been made worse by their tendency to dismiss or downplay criticisms against them. How many times have we heard their MPs say things like “our transportation system is still better than (insert country with dismal record)”?

  51. 91 The Pariah 1 January 2013 at 16:28

    PEOPLE ACT PLEASE (hee, hee …. that’s also PAP, eh?) - Do flw the Action Steps towards the end of this TOC editorial:

    http://theonlinecitizen.com/2013/01/toc-editorial-the-problem-with-the-aim-case-and-what-you-can-do/

  52. 92 Caught 1 January 2013 at 18:13

    “The Town Councils reserve their rights not to accept the lowest or any tender without assigning any reason thereof.”

    I find the above condition odd. The seller should be looking out for the highest offer. Why bother about the lowest offer !

    • 93 Tom 2 January 2013 at 13:25

      Because the advertisement is worded to trick potential bidders into thinking that the town councils were BUYING instead of SELLING their IT system !!!

  53. 94 KJ 1 January 2013 at 19:00

    Originally I wanted to say that TCs are like the management committees of condominiums. However, on careful reading of the Town Council Act (Cap 329A). The line between private and public is not very clear.

    Although TC personnel can be considered as public servants (56) and they impose fines for failure to pay S&C charges (39).

    They then suddenly privatise the monies by invoking contract law (51b).

  54. 95 Alan 1 January 2013 at 20:21

    I am really concerned whether this is the tip of the iceberg. Taiwan’s ruling KMT party was accused of squandering much of their country’s wealth away in the name of proxies & cronies.

    So how certain are we that PAP is not doing exactly the same thing ?

  55. 96 jimmy 1 January 2013 at 23:50

    Whether it is $2/-, experienced directors or shareholders whatnot, just do yourself one last test. Does the whole deal smell as far as your understanding of what that should be properly done in the interest of the country ?

    And is the deal the right way to ensure whatever system there is will help and keep singapore running smoothly if indeed the people want to change the govt or party.

  56. 97 Authority 2 January 2013 at 16:42

    I am just wondering how many “PAP” or ex MP owned companies are out there and how much business are they doing with the government, PA and TCs. I guess there is nothing illegal about the transactions, just like there was nothing illegal about “Lee & Lee” doing conveyance work for HDB. I remember this was defended in Parliament by LKY doing the JBJ era. Well it’s definitely not corruption but I am just curious to know how many m/billions these campnaies are making.

  57. 99 george 3 January 2013 at 02:41

    In his latest reply, Teo HP now says that the software is ‘fast’ losing value and made out AIM to be like a knight in shining armour no less to its rescue!

    He is saying that the software which was developed over umpteen months at great cost to serve a very specific purpose was suddenly faced with obsolescence! How is that possible?

    Furthermore, how did selling it to AIM and leasing it back solve this imaginary ‘problem’?

    And yes, he has been deathly silent still on the issue posed by the Aljunied GRC TC on the reason for having the termination clause, in case of “material change”.

    It is plain as day that there is no convincing lie (not that anything he has said so far has any credibility at all) that he can possibly fabricate to hide the fact that the PAP TCs were out to sabotage the incoming Aljunied GRC TC.

    In fact, Teo has in his latest reply exposed the entire ulterior motive for this shenanigan when he talked about ‘ownership’ of the package. One would ask, why should it be an issue at all? Was there a ‘tussle’ among the TCs for ‘ownership’? And for what reason, since the package was jointly developed by all of them with the help of the NCS and meant to be used entirely for their work purposes? How would selling it to AIM and than leasing it back resolve any issue if there had been one to begin with? Furthermore, the NCS has remained as the service provider under AIM for the running and maintenance of the package AND the TCs would still have to pay NCS directly for its work. Meaning at ground zero, there is absolutely NO change.

    Looks like, the more Teo tries to dig himself out of the quicksand, the deeper he sinks in it.

  58. 100 Felix 3 January 2013 at 10:51

    This is 2002:
    http://www.singapore-window.org/sw02/020210gl.htm#top

    9 years on in 2013, one wonders how much more has this gone deeper, the AIMgate issue is just the tip of the tip of an iceberg.

  59. 101 Shirley Tan 3 January 2013 at 13:45

    First and foremost, the software is developed using 15 to 20 months, that means that by withdrawing the services from Aljunied town council smacks of sabotage. Remember, this is the country’s resources, therefore a party that will not flinch to sabotage another party and bring inconvenience to the people, is this the party that we can trust? What other secrets are they hiding?


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For an update of the case against me, please see AGC versus me, the 2013 round.

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