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New Silkroutes says Goh Jin Hian suitable to remain as chairman despite lawsuit

THE nominating committee (NC) and board of New Silkroutes Group are of the view that chairman Goh Jin Hian is suitable to continue as a director of the healthcare and energy firm despite a lawsuit filed against him recently.

This is because the legal proceedings - brought by Inter-Pacific Petroleum's (IPP) judicial managers - are a civil suit against Dr Goh, and the allegations are without merit, based on his lawyers' legal advice, New Silkroutes said on Tuesday.

The mainboard-listed firm's board understands that Dr Goh's lawyers, TSMP Law Corporation, had exchanged correspondence with the IPP judicial managers and "detailed, with clear explanation, why there is no justifiable case against him".

TSMP advised Dr Goh that the judicial managers' allegations are without merit both on the facts and on the law.

He "has every confidence that he will be wholly vindicated when he defends himself in court", said New Silkroutes' board.

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The NC and the board thus continue to support Dr Goh, who is the medically trained son of former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong. They added that they still believe his character and integrity are suitable for him to stay on the board.

They also noted it is in the interest of the company and shareholders that he continues to be the non-executive chairman.

Dr Goh was also chief executive officer of New Silkroutes, although he vacated the role last Thursday.

Last Friday night, IPP's judicial managers filed the suit against Dr Goh in relation to an alleged breach of director's duties. He was executive director at the insolvent marine fuel and cargo trader from 2011 to late 2014, and then non-executive director till August 2019.

On Monday, another listed company, Cordlife Group, said Dr Goh had stepped down as its chairman with immediate effect, although he is still serving as an independent director. Cordlife said he was leaving the chairman role "to devote more time to his personal affairs".

New Silkroutes called for a trading halt at 9.41am on Tuesday, and lifted the halt at 1.45pm. Its shares rose 0.2 Singapore cent or 1.8 per cent to trade at 11.3 cents as at 3.27pm.

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