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Consistel fined S$300,000 for irregularities; IDA also files police report
THE Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has fined Consistel a sum of S$300,000 for breaching its licencing obligations for running the communications system at the Sports Hub, which was granted to it in March 2013. IDA has also filed a police report, which is the first time such a report has been filed for a breach of licencing obligations.
In a statement, IDA said Consistel, in June 2014, sought IDA's approval to transfer its licence, known as the IBTTS (in-built terrestrial telecommunication system), to Consistel Sprint Pte Ltd (Sprint), a company owned by Consistel's parent company and another business partner, Asia Networks.
IDA asked Consistel to submit the business transfer agreement and the executed transfer agreement, or a draft agreement if these were not yet executed. In November 2014, Consistel submitted a draft business transfer agreement to IDA and in May 2015 IDA gave an in-principle approval for the transfer of the licence.
However, in January 2016, IDA was informed that Consistel had actually signed an Asset Sale Agreement with Sprint in October 2013 with several revisions in 2014 and executed two deeds of assignment in February 2014 for transfer of the communication system to Sprint. IDA asked Consistel to explain, among other things, why it had not disclosed the executed agreements to IDA despite the latter having made repeated requests of them to do so. It was also asked why it had not obtained IDA's prior written approval (as is required under its IBTTS licence) before entering into the executed agreements.
After hearing out Consistel, IDA has come to the conclusion that its failure to provide the executed agreements was a deliberate act to withhold material information. IDA also noted that throughout the five-month engagement, Consistel had never once clarified the true state of affairs and provided the executed agreements to IDA.
IDA noted it would have taken other regulatory actions if the executed agreements had been known to it at the time of the application for the transfer in 2014. The regulatory body stated the fine was commensurate with the serious nature of the contraventions and would send a "strong and deterrent signal to Consistel and the industry that all licensees should act with integrity, honesty and transparency in all their dealings with IDA as a regulator".