Other issues arising from blocked condo collective sale

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Other issues arising from blocked condo collective sale

Post by singaporeproperty » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:35 pm

http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/sun ... e-20130915


Other issues arising from blocked condo collective sale

Published on Sep 15, 2013

The case of Thomson View has highlighted what property owners and sellers have been subjected to on the ground ("What went wrong at Thomson View?"; last Sunday).

It is good that the High Court has slammed the behaviour of marketing agent HSR, saying it had "egregiously breached" its duty to avoid conflict of interest.

But I wonder if it is enough, going forward, to give such errant parties just a ticking off and a slap on the wrist. Should stronger punitive measures be implemented?

It is perhaps time for real estate agencies and associations like the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore, or even the relevant public agencies, to review how compliance controls and best practices can be more effectively derived, implemented and enforced within the legal framework.

In any organisation, be it public or private, any offers of inducements or bribes could be considered corruption, and such malpractices can be harshly dealt with, either internally by the organisation or externally by public agencies like the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) or Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

Consequences can be harsh, including getting fired, paying heavy fines and even being jailed.

There are internal structures and policies for compliance, which include different levels of approvals and identification of individuals who can be held accountable. Legal departments and compliance officers are also consulted.

In the case of HSR, were the additional payments of more than $548,000 to four owners formally approved by senior officers within the agency? Was this brought up to its legal or compliance officers?

Was this simply a case of rogue agents, or a whole company that went rogue?

Is this case to be referred to the CPIB or CAD? What actions would an agency like HSR take against the rogue agents or even any of its directors who were involved in the deal?

While it is good that the deal has been blocked, I hope the relevant parties will address these other matters.

Tan Wei Ming

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