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SingPost launches probe after BT reports raise corporate governance issues

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Singapore Post is convening investigations into corporate governance issues in response to articles carried in Wednesday's edition of The Business Times.

SINGAPORE Post is convening investigations into corporate governance issues in response to articles carried in Wednesday's edition of The Business Times.

BT reported in an article titled "SingPost made 'administrative oversight' " that the postal and e-commerce group said on Tuesday that it had not properly disclosed a board director's interest in a 2014 acquisition that the group had agreed to pay up to £7 million (S$14.8 million) for.

SingPost said that the director, Keith Tay Ah Kee, actually had an interest in the FS Mackenzie deal at the time it was done, although he had abstained from voting on the deal.

BT also carried in Wednesday's publication a commentary, titled "More questions about corporate governance at SingPost", by SingPost shareholder Mak Yuen Teen highlighting that Mr Tay is the non-executive chairman and a shareholder of Stirling Coleman Capital Ltd (SCCL). SCCL was the arranger of the transaction.

Mr Mak asked SingPost to clarify if the services provided by SCCL were disclosed to the nominations committee. He also sought to have SingPost explain how the determination of Mr Tay's independence as nominations committee chairman was handled.

"In view of the seriousness of the issues raised in these articles, Mr Keith Tay Ah Kee has requested the chairman of the board for special auditors to be appointed immediately to investigate these issues thoroughly and to report directly to the board and the audit committee," said SingPost in a filing to Singapore Exchange just before trading commenced on Wednesday.

"Mr Tay has also requested that such report be made available for inspection by the Singapore Exchange, the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore and other regulators, and that appropriate disclosure should also be made to shareholders and other stakeholders," it added.

The chairman of the board has acceded to the request and has instructed management to proceed accordingly, said SingPost.

The company said that Mr Tay will "recuse himself completely" from this issue while investigations are ongoing, and will assist when required.

SingPost also plans to disseminate information through the media on the said deal to shed light on its corporate governance.