top of page
  • Writer's pictureJulie O'Connor

Why Didn't the PMO Tell Asian Sentinel the Truth? Another Case Closed Due to Insufficient Evidence!

Singapore's local press had no problem whatsoever reporting on the whistleblower who contacted Opposition Leader Pritam Singh about a purported affair that MP Leon Perera was involved in, questioning why Mr. Singh took Mr. Perera's denial at face value. However, it hasn't gone unnoticed by some that the same press has never asked me about the serious concerns that I have raised, but which the authorities continue to claim (in private anyway) don't warrant an investigation.

It would be Asian Sentinel which would publish an article on just some of the concerns that I had raised. I had blown the whistle on a board member of SGX listed EZRA Holdings group, who amongst many other allegations, had withheld material information from investors prior raising funds, and the group of companies collapsing. This board member (Lee) was legally represented by prominent law firm Allen & Gledhill, which at the time was headed up by the current Attorney General (AG) Lucien Wong. I presume that Lee's personal lawyer had been Edwin Tong, who is the current Second Minister of Law, being that it was stipulated that he be copied in on all correspondence.

I lodged a report with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) after A$3.5 million had been offered by Lee which would cover up the allegations of fraud which had implicated him. After review, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) passed my submission to the Commercial Affairs Division (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force (SPF). CAD assessed for 18-months, and just a week after I reached out to the AG to enquire about the ridiculous amount of time taken to assess, CAD claimed the case was closed due to insufficient evidence. What was CAD doing for 18-months and did they, as Pritam Singh has been accused of, just accept denials before deciding to close the case? Although unlike the person who blew the whistle to Pritam Singh, I did actually provide hard evidence.

The CEO of the SGX listed company embroiled in the transaction claimed that no-one from CAD contacted any Board Member, Executive or Member of Management of the company during the 18-month assessment. Lee just happened to be the Chairman of that company. The DBS Group Head of Financial Crime also claimed that no-one from CAD had contacted him. If CAD didn't contact Lee, his fellow board members and DBS, did it contact anyone over those 18-months? Did CAD speak to its superiors, those who had legally represented Lee and who were now part of the establishment, and did they deny any wrongdoing on behalf of their former client?

I reached out to the Prime Minister earlier this year after his office advised Asian Sentinel that it would continue to engage with me as necessary. I asked why the PMO had not advised Asian Sentinel the truth that CAD had advised me that it was case closed due to insufficient evidence years earlier. This prompted the PMO to request that CAD review its earlier assessment of insufficient evidence. Whether this was just a backside covering exercise should the crap hit the fan in future, is anyone's guess after seeing the debacle surrounding the allegations made against Parliament's Speaker three-years ago. No prizes for guessing that after seeking advice from the Attorney General's Chambers on whether to investigate Lee, who not forgetting was the client of the Attorney General's former law firm, CAD's finding would again be insufficient evidence.

Why was Parti Liyani investigated and charged based on flimsy and perjured evidence presented by the family of her well-connected employer, when the evidence which I provided was deemed insufficient to even warrant an investigation? Many Singaporeans lost their investment when the EZRA Holdings Group collapsed, DBS alone was financially exposed by some S$637 million. Aside from myself, NUS Prof. Mak Yuen Teen has raised serious concerns about lapses, and this claim of insufficient evidence is quite remarkable given that Lee had offered a significant financial incentive with conditions that evidence be handed over to him, together letters of retraction of complaints made to DBS, SGX, Audit Committees etc. Lee, similar to the Keppel six implicated in the bribery scandal can now continue to rinse and repeat his actions, even if he needs to once again hide behind a claim to a beneficial interest to mislead investors and then pay to hide his dirt. Why was it in the public interest to chase down an Indonesian maid, but not someone accused of misleading Singapore investors?

Is it any wonder that the reputation of the SGX appears to be in the gutter, leading to international firms publishing statements like this:

"How Singapore's regulators have failed Noble's investors and shielded the fraudsters"

"The Singapore government shows no signs of wanting to change how its stock exchange is regulated. Wise investors will move their money elsewhere. And many Singaporean companies listed overseas will continue to dismiss the SGX as a potential venue for listing. Who can blame them?"

~Iceberg Research

The buck and blame for what is taking place, including the damage to Singapore's reputation which of course affects all Singaporeans, should lay squarely with Singapore's leadership. It is after all they who sit in ivory towers and promise Singaporeans and international investors that there is a zero tolerance to corruption, no cover-ups are allowed, and no-one is above the law in Singapore. If that were the true, then regardless of how well-connected Lee is/was, the Singapore Police would have investigated my concerns with the same fervour as it investigated those made by well-connected elite Liew Mun Leong against his Indonesian maid Parti Liyani.

Perhaps the Prime Minister can ask his former personal lawyer the AG, his Second Minister of Law, and the CEO of Singapore's Government Linked bank the following:

AG and the Second Minister of Law (formerly Allen & Gledhill)

  • How many parties to the transaction of concern, aside from Lee, did Allen & Gledhill represent?

  • Allen & Gledhill were shown to have drawn up two identical option deeds for two different parties (not Lee), to acquire the same Australian owned group of companies. One of the option deeds was used in a conspiracy to defraud. Was that option deed authentic or was it a fraudulent document?

  • A writ was served on two subsidiaries of a SGX listed entity of which Lee was MD. The writ implicated Lee in an alleged pattern of fraud, yet the writ was not disclosed by the board. When Allen & Gledhill facilitated a financial agreement, with one of the conditions being that the writ be retracted, was Allen & Gledhill acting on behalf of Lee in his personal capacity or as MD of the company which was served the writ?

  • Were company funds utilized to pay for the writ to be retracted?

DBS CEO Piyush Gupta

  • DBS knew that Lee's company was attempting to acquire an Australian owned group of companies. DBS Legal was asked to authenticate two DBS letters which had been used in a conspiracy to defraud involving that acquisition. DBS Legal took almost eight-weeks to refuse to authenticate the letters, during which time the acquisition was finalized. Why did DBS delay in providing the short 'standard' response for almost eight-weeks?

  • Mrs. O'Connor sought assistance from two DBS Group Heads of Financial Crime, two DBS Group Company Secretaries and two PWC Partners in Charge of the DBS Audit in relation to her concerns. Those parties went on to leave their roles, was that just pure coincidence?

  • DBS Legal would coach a whistleblower on what not to include in a submission, stipulating that there could be no reference made to the DBS letters. Is it standard practice that DBS Legal decides what can or cannot be included in a whistleblower submission?

  • Who audits DBS SpeakUp which is the purported independent whistleblower program administered by Deloittes?

Then after asking these questions, Prime Minister Lee can come out hand on heart and say, 'case closed due to insufficient evidence' and unlike Pritam Singh I didn't take any denials at face value. Then investors will know that cover-ups are accepted in Singapore, just so long as you have enough money to pay for your dirt to be hidden...

bottom of page