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New Silkroutes appoints CEO as executive director, new finance director

HEALTHCARE and energy firm New Silkroutes Group has appointed chief executive officer (CEO) VicPearly Wong as its executive director, and Lincoln Kwok as its finance director.

With the additional role, Dr Wong, 44, is responsible for the overall management and operations of the group, as well as facilitating and managing the company, New Silkroutes said in a bourse filing on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, Mr Kwok, 44, is responsible for the group's treasury, finance, audit and strategic planning functions. These include fundraising, developing and maintaining banking relationships, and assisting the CEO in assessing and structuring corporate finance deals and investments, New Silkroutes said.

Prior to this, Mr Kwok was financial controller at Hong Kong-listed Pipeline Engineering Holdings, which offers infrastructure pipeline construction and related engineering services.

Dr Wong and Mr Kwok's appointments come after the mainboard-listed firm in October announced that non-independent, non-executive chairman Goh Jin Hian and finance director William Teo Thiam Chuan have resigned.

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New Silkroutes said then that Dr Goh stepped down as its chairman to "focus on personal matters and to pursue other interests".

Mr Teo, meanwhile, stepped down "to devote more time to his personal affairs", it added.

The resignations of the two New Silkroutes directors also came after the firm announced on Oct 15 that its auditor Deloitte & Touche has given a disclaimer of opinion on the financial statements of the group for the financial year ended June 30.

At the same time, Dr Goh also quit as independent director of cord-blood banking firm Cordlife Group.

Dr Goh, the medically-trained son of former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong, was New Silkroutes' CEO till Oct 1, when he assumed the position of non-executive chairman.

He also quit as Cordlife's chairman in early October, after Inter-Pacific Petroleum's (IPP) judicial managers sued him in relation to an alleged breach of director's duties.

New Silkroutes previously noted that Dr Goh and Mr Teo were assisting the Commercial Affairs Department with investigations. The company said it understands that the alleged offence is false trading and market rigging in view of past share buybacks and acquisitions of shares.

Also assisting with the investigation is Kelvyn Oo, who was the executive director and chief corporate officer of New Silkroutes until he left on Aug 1.

Separately, New Silkroutes had also said that Dr Goh was suitable to continue as a board member despite the IPP litigation, because that is a civil suit against him and the allegations are without merit, based on his lawyers' legal advice.

Most recently in late October, New Silkroutes said it will appoint an independent public accounting firm to review matters relating to two of its agreements involving a China unit, and the valuation of its stake in a Thai firm.

This comes after Deloitte said in its Oct 14 report that it was unable to obtain sufficient audit evidence on matters including the business rationale, commercial substance and structuring of two agreements that New Silkroutes' wholly-owned subsidiary Shanghai Fengwei Garment Accessory signed with a Chinese entity in April.

Deloitte had also said it could not determine the appropriateness of the valuation methodology used for Thai General Nice Coal and Coke.

New Silkroutes shares closed at 8.6 Singapore cents on Monday, up 0.1 cent or 1.2 per cent, before the announcements of Dr Wong and Mr Kwok's appointments.

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