A recent article by the Temasek Review News (TRN) made several erroneous claims, following a recent reply in Parliament by the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu pertaining to findings from the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) on the National Gallery Singapore (NGS) development project.


Factually sets things straight:


1. Did the Auditor-General flag that $13 million was missing, as stated in the TRN article?


No, AGO did not indicate in its report that there were missing funds.


TRN’s false claim: "After being flagged for missing $13 million by the Auditor-General, Minister for Culture Grace Fu denied that there is any corruption or fraud involved."


Actual extract from AGO report: "AGO’s test checks revealed weaknesses such as waivers of contractual provisions involving $13 million without due scrutiny by MCCY."


MCCY has also reviewed AGO’s findings and is satisfied that there is no fraud involved in NGS’ waivers of contractual provisions.


2. What did the $13 million in the AGO report relate to then?


The $13 million was primarily waivers of amounts payable for additional time taken by the contractor to complete construction works. NGS had assessed that the requests for additional time were reasonable, considering the scale and complexity of the project. Thus they waived the amounts that the contractor would have needed to pay for the delay.


NGS managed the project according to industry best practices, as advised by the NGS’s Project Development Committee which comprised experts from the construction industry.


3. Did Minister Fu say that the "missing $13 million" is "normal"?


No. In her response in Parliament, Minister Fu did not use the word “normal”. Her response, in full, is as follows:


"The S$13 million) is actually waivers and also for variation orders, which are to be expected for a project that massive that involves two monuments and an extension connecting the two."


4. What will MCCY and NGS do to avoid this from occurring again in future?


The  NGS  Board  and Audit  Committee,  which  includes  members  of  its  Board with  experience  in  accounting  and  audit  matters,  have  completed  their  review  of NGS’  procurement  policies  and  processes  arising  from  AGO’s  findings.  NGS has  implemented  improvements  to  its  systems  and  procedures  accordingly.


MCCY’s  fifth  and  final  audit  has  since  resumed  after  being  suspended  due  to the  AGO  audit.   Arising  from  the  AGO  audit  and  MCCY’s  final  audit,  MCCY  will  work  with  NGS to  enhance  financial  processes  and  procurement  policies.  This  will  include rectifying  any  issues  identified  from  these  audit  findings. Both  MCCY and  NGS  take  the  proper  use  and  management  of  public  funds seriously,  and will work  together  to  enhance  financial  processes  and  procurement policies.


MCCY's Response to AGO findings


NGS's Response to AGO Findings