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SGX reprimands Oriental Group, past and present directors

THE Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Friday reprimanded Oriental Group and eight individuals - a current director, six past directors including its former chairman and chief executive officer, and a former group financial controller - for several breaches of listing rules, including providing misleading and inaccurate announcements in relation to three fundraising exercises.

As a result too, Singapore-listed companies will need to get the SGX RegCo's nod before any of these individuals are appointed as a director or to the management team, said SGX in a statement.

Those reprimanded include the Catalist-listed troubled firm's former non-executive chairman Wu Dingrong, former executive director and former CEO Lee Wan Sing, former executive director Sun Lu, former non-executive director Richard Ong Wee Chuan, former independent directors Tan Song Kwang and Koh Choon Kong.

Oriental's current independent director Chua Hung Meng and former group financial controller Lee Ong have also been admonished for breaching the Catalist rules.

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Their other misconducts include unauthorised corporate guarantees extended in favour of its interested persons and/or unauthorised interested person transaction, said SGX RegCo.

By way of background, the regulator said the company appointed a special auditor and an independent reviewer to review these "irregularities" that took place in Singapore and China. Details of the review were disclosed in an announcement in early December last year.

The listing rule breaches relate to several transactions undertaken by the steel trader and manufacturer that were announced between 2012 and 2015, including two share placement exercises, an issue of convertible loan notes, unauthorised corporate guarantees and interest person transaction as well as backdating of invoices for purchase of IT equipment.

The regulator said the company's board and audit committee had failed to take the necessary steps to ensure adequacy of the group's internal controls in light of the 2013 internal audit findings.

SGX RegCo has referred the breaches to the appropriate authorities.