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Bill Ng 'knew what $500k donation was for'

The New Paper | Shamir Osman | Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017

The war of words over where a $500,000 donation made by Tiong Bahru FC (TBFC) chairman Bill Ng had ended up took another twist last night.

Photo: The Straits Times

The war of words over where a $500,000 donation made by Tiong Bahru FC (TBFC) chairman Bill Ng had ended up took another twist last night.

Mr Ng had claimed that he had donated the money to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) for the benefit of local clubs but had no idea what had happened to the donation.

The row has cast a shadow on FAS' first ever election on April 29, in which Mr Ng's Game Changers team is taking on Mr Lim Kia Tong's Team LKT.

In response, FAS general secretary Winston Lee said Mr Ng was aware that the donation was going to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) for its Football Management System (FMS).

And in a media release at about 8pm yesterday, Mr Lee made public various documents as proof.

Among the documents was an official TBFC letter sent by Mr Ng that indicates that the amateur National Football League (NFL) club had been approached by former FAS president Zainudin Nordin to make the donation.

This contradicts Mr Ng's earlier statements that it was Mr Lee, and not Mr Zainudin, who had asked for the donation, and that the FAS council, like Mr Ng, had no knowledge of the destination of the donation.

Mr Lee said in the FAS statement: "Ng's statements are all patently false. The following facts, and the supporting documents, will make that clear.

"On Oct 9, 2014, Ng wrote to Zainudin to thank the latter for 'sharing' AFF's FMS with him.

"Ng went on to say that 'we (TBFC) will contribute S$500,000 to AFF through FAS to develop this FMS'."

"It is clear that Ng and Zainudin discussed the AFF FMS sometime prior to Oct 9, 2014, when this letter was sent," added Mr Lee, who also released images of the cheques and payment vouchers signed by Mr Ng, made payable to the AFF.

In a reply at about 11pm, Mr Ng refuted Mr Lee's version of events and insisted that Mr Lee, and not Mr Zainudin, had approached him for the donation.

Referring to the letter made public by Mr Lee, he said: "What was presented by Winston Lee, however, was a letter which he had prepared, which he then directed me to reproduce using the Tiong Bahru FC letterhead to address to Mr Zainudin Nordin, confirming the 'request to donate'." (See Page 5)

Mr Ng had earlier declared that the donation was made "strictly on the basis that the money was to be used to benefit Singapore football, especially our local clubs", and not a regional body.

Team LKT had then asserted that the FAS council at the time had no knowledge of the situation, with Mr Lee confirming this in yesterday's statement.

"FAS Council approval was not needed and not sought because this was a donation which Ng made to AFF, not FAS," he said. "Regrettably, I believe Ng's statement was intended to insinuate financial impropriety within FAS and to damage the credibility of FAS and myself. Given these clear facts which show otherwise, I call on Ng to wholly and unconditionally apologise for his statements."

Yesterday, the FAS' Electoral Committee (EC) announced its finalised list of 32 candidates who will contest the April 29 election. TNP understands that Ng and his team will be allowed to stand, notwithstanding the current controversy.

This is because the EC's eligibility and integrity tests focus only on an individual's criminal records, betting records with Singapore Pools and solvency status.

Ng: Lee requested and facilitated donation, not ex-FAS president

Mr Bill Ng last night reiterated that it was Football Association of Singapore (FAS) general secretary Winston Lee, not former FAS president Zainudin Nordin, who requested and facilitated the donation for the ASEAN Football Federation's (AFF) Football Management System (FMS).

In a rebuttal to Mr Lee's release of documents to show that Mr Ng knew what the $500,000 donation was meant for, the FAS presidential hopeful asserted that Mr Lee had "conveniently forgotten the sequence of events which led to the donation".

"It was Lee who met me on multiple occasions in 2014 to seek the donations from TBFC for an FMS to be developed for the benefit of Singapore football and ASEAN football," he said.

"At no point during these meetings was 'a proposal' ever presented. What was presented by Lee, however, was a letter which he had prepared, which he then directed me to reproduce using the TBFC letterhead to address to Zainudin, confirming the 'request to donate'."

Mr Ng heads the Game Changers team running in the April 29 FAS election against Team LKT led by Mr Lim Kia Tong, a former FAS vice-president who has asserted that he was not made aware of such a donation during his term of office.

Ng claims to have donated some $850,000 to the FAS to develop local football, while the FAS says it had received only $715,000.

That issue has yet to be dealt with, in light of the $500,000 that has gone into AFF coffers with no mark made on the FAS annual reports suggesting so.

Mr Ng said in his statement: "When TBFC agreed to Lee's request for a donation, it was strictly on the basis that the money was to be used to develop a system which would benefit Singapore Football, especially our local clubs.

"(He) assured me this was the case. Lee and the former Council still owes the Singapore Football fraternity answers to these questions," said Mr Ng, who listed seven issues of contention he wants the FAS and Lee to address.

shamiro@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Apr 08, 2017.
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