Saturday, 11 August 2012

SMRT, LTA spending of S$10 million on COI hearing raise questions

SMRT, LTA spent S$10 million on COI hearing

S$10 million.

That’s how much the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT spent on the recent Committee of Inquiry (COI) hearings.

Announcing the sum on Friday, the LTA said its expenses on legal fees and consultation fees for its panel of experts came up to S$4 million while SMRT incurred the rest.

“The COI process was important to LTA. Credible experts and good lawyers were hired to ensure an optimal outcome. As a result of the process, we have greater clarity about what happened during the December incidents. Measures have been taken to improve reliability and strengthen the regulatory framework,” said an LTA spokesman, as quoted in The Straits Times.

Read the rest here


Just take SMRT as a truly privatised company who needs not account to other than their shareholders what they do with they money. Does no Singaporean citizen though, bat an eyelid that LTA just spent $4,000,000 of taxpayers' money on an investigation?

Do we have the right to demand a breakdown of LTA's expenses on legal and consultation fees?

If LTA needs to spend millions to acquire clarity on what they should be knowing in the first place, how much money do we need to incur for the next mysterious MRT breakdowns if the improved regulatory framework fails us again?

On top of spending $6 million on legal and consultation, SMRT paid $2 million in fines after being deemed accountable by the Committee of Inquiry (COI). While it appears that LTA recouped back $2 million of taxpayers' money, we should be aware that the major shareholders of SMRT is Temasek Holdings at 54.25% stake.

Temasek Holdings is the investment company owned by the government of Singapore which invests the money of the Singapore public. Do we, as the citizens of Singapore, have the right to know why we need to spent a total of S10 million to mediate between a government authority and a company owned by an investment company owned by the government?

Why do we need a COI if external legal and consultation companies were called in?

How much money was paid to the members of the COI?

LTA has an in-house legal department with 10 staff in the team. [link] Why do they need to spend 4 million on external legal support? 

We need answers.

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