Sinjia Land says no charges against CEO in CAD probe

NO CHARGES have been brought against any of Sinjia Land's board members and employees so far, including group chief executive officer Cheong Weixiong, the Catalist-listed company said in a statement on Friday (Jul 22).

This comes after the backpacker hostel operator announced earlier this week that Cheong, who is also the company's executive director, was interviewed by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) in connection to an offence under the Securities and Futures Act.

Responding to queries from the Singapore Exchange (SGX), Sinjia Land said that it as far as it is aware, no other employees or board members have been asked to assist with the authorities' investigations. No individuals were named in the letter dated Jul 19 from the CAD and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) either.

Aside from asking the company to provide certain documents, no further information was provided by the authorities on the investigation. CAD and MAS also did not state who is the subject of the investigation in its letter addressed to company, said Sinjia Land.

While there have not been any restrictions or conditions imposed on Cheong as part of the investigations, the chief executive had surrendered his passport to the authorities on Jul 21, said the company.

Asked whether Cheong is suitable to continue in his post as chief executive, Sinjia Land said the nominating committee has "assessed the present situation and notes that the investigations are still ongoing".

"There is no reason to question the suitability of the individuals to continue as directors of the company, and accordingly, the nominating committee is of the view that the individuals, including Mr Cheong, are still suitable to continue as directors of the company," it said.

The sponsor, Evolve Capital Advisory, has also assessed that Cheong is suitable to continue as executive director of the company as investigations are ongoing and no charges have been brought forth against him.

Both the nominating committee and the sponsor will monitor the progress of the investigation and re-assess their positions as and when there are developments.

Shares of Sinjia Land closed S$0.002 or 4.6 per cent lower at S$0.042 on Friday before the announcement.

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