SINGAPORE (Apr 22): Prosecution witness Ng Kit Kiat, a former OCBC Securities remisier, on Monday admitted to conducting trades on behalf of his clients without third-party authorisation.

Ng is the prosecution’s first witness in the trial of alleged 2013 penny stock crash masterminds John Soh Chee Wen and Quah Su-Ling.

It was revealed during the trial – which resumed this afternoon after nearly a month-long hiatus – that Ng had left OCBC Securities a week ago.

In Day Five of the trial, Quah’s defence counsel, Philip Fong of Eversheds Harry Elias, picked up where he left off and asked Ng if he had upheld the practice of issuing third party authorisation forms.

Ng said he had personally mailed out the forms to each of his nominees, but did not have any record of it. However, on further probing, he admitted to not having sent out these forms.

Fong then drew Ng’s attention to his statement dated Feb 6, 2015, where he had said that he traded on behalf of two account holders on Quah’s instructions.

Ng said that it did not occur to him to obtain authorisation. Ng argued that, at that time, Quah was already his client. “I had the impression that she was a very good client because she always paid on time and appeared to be close to the account holders. They were fine with letting [Quah] place orders on behalf of themselves,” Ng said.

Later, Ng said he sent out the authorisation forms “as a habit”, but added that he did not inform Quah that he sent out the forms.

Fong called Ng’s statements “total fabrications”.

Later in the cross examination, Fong asked if Ng had obtained authorisation from his wife before trading on her behalf. Ng replied that he had not, as “it is a common practice in the market”.

Fong then moved on to question Ng on his dealings with a certain Ang Cheau Hoon, or Alice – a remisier at UOB Kay Hian.

He put forward trade summaries and time stamps of telephone calls made between Ng and a number believed to belong to Ang.

He showed how Ng had placed orders on behalf of Ang for 300,000 Blumont shares at 45.5 cents each, after their telephone conversation. Ng said that he could not recollect if that number belongs to Ang but said she had asked him to place trades in her accounts under him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Peter Koy objected to Fong’s argument, saying that it was “based on assumptions”, to which Justice Hoo Sheau Peng agreed.

Ng also rejected Fong’s suggestion that he had a profit-sharing agreement with Ang. “Definitely not,” Ng said.

Fong also revisited Ng’s previous admission that he knew “Peter Chew” – whom he was taking orders from – was actually John Soh.

“[Ng] wanted to hide the fact that [he] was in communication between 2012 and 2013, and decided to rename John Soh’s contact details [on his phone] as ‘Pete’ in case anyone finds out about [his] communication,” Fong argued.

Fong then proceeded to ask why Ng had only deleted his messages to “Chew” and not to Quah. To this, Ng replied that he didn’t think this was significant as he occasionally deletes past messages to improve the efficiency of his phone.

While Ng had earlier in court testified that Kuan Ah Ming had introduced Quah to him as a client, Fong noted that Ng's first statement to the Commercial Affairs Department in November 2014 showed that Ng was unaware of any connection between Kuan and Quah.

Kuan, said to be a close associate of the alleged 2013 penny stock crash masterminds, was named in a November 2013 injunction sought by Interactive Brokers to freeze his assets, including five trading accounts with four brokerages.

In a later statement in February 2015, where he "came clean", Ng’s statement also failed to show he knew the relationship between Kuan and Quah, Fong argued.

However, Ng on Monday insisted that Kuan had introduced Quah to him.

"[Kuan] said when he wanted to introduce QSL to me, [that] she was the CEO of IPCO and [that] she was very pretty. That’s what [Kuan] said to me,” Ng said. “When I met QSL the next day, I thought that ‘yes, she was very pretty’."

The trial is adjourned to Tuesday morning. The defence counsels will round up their questions for Ng, before the prosecution calls its next witness to the stand.


2013 Penny Stock Crash

John Soh Chee Wen is the alleged mastermind behind the penny stock crash of 2013, which prosecutors have called “the most audacious, extensive and injurious market manipulation scheme ever in Singapore”.

Together with his alleged co-conspirator and girlfriend Quah Su-Ling, Soh and his associates are alleged to have been behind the massive rise and sudden collapse of shares in Blumont Group, LionGold Corp and Asiasons Capital (now Attilan Group), which wiped out some $8 billion in market value.

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Don’t miss out on these highlights in the penny stock saga so far: