PAP, WP in war of words over IT firm

AN ARGUMENT over the termination of an IT contract for an opposition-run town council continued yesterday, with officials from the People's Action Party (PAP) and Workers' Party (WP) exchanging more accusations over the issue.

The coordinating chairman of PAP-run town councils, Dr Teo Ho Pin, took Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) chairman Sylvia Lim to task, asking why the council had "suppressed" the fact that it had wanted to develop its own software even before the IT firm, Action Information Management (AIM), ended the contract last year.

The town council had told AIM that it wanted to do this on June 10 last year, he said. "Thereafter the contract was terminated with mutual agreement on Sept 9, 2011, after two extensions had been given at AHTC's request. AHTC thanked AIM for the extensions."

Ms Lim, however, said that in June, the town council was "acutely aware" of the possible termination by the PAP-owned firm. AIM yesterday released an exchange of letters between the town council and the firm leading to the termination.

The controversy had arisen earlier this month when a town council management review gave AHTC the lowest banding for arrears management and did not rate its corporate governance, as its auditor's management letter had not been submitted in time.

Ms Lim blamed the poor showing on the need to replicate new computer and financial systems after AIM ended the lease of AHTC's computer and financial systems. She said the first extension to the contract with AIM until Aug 31 last year had to be "fought for".

But AIM's chairman, Mr Chandra Das, refuted this claim on Monday, saying that AHTC had said it wanted to develop its own system after the WP took over the town council last year, following its victory in Aljunied GRC at the general election.

AIM readily gave it the two extensions that it sought - to Aug 31 and then Sept 9 - and AHTC even thanked AIM for the extensions, he said.

In her latest statement yesterday, Ms Lim said WP MPs were "acutely aware of the possible termination of computing and financial systems at short notice by AIM, hanging over AHTC like the proverbial Sword of Damocles".

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