SINGAPORE (Sept 15): Phua Chian Kin, the controlling shareholder of Mainboard-listed TEE International, could be selling his shares in the company to certain third-party purchasers.

In a bourse filing late on Friday night, TEE International announced that Phua has received offers for the company’s shares held by him. He currently has a direct interest of 39.24% and a deemed interest of 6.37%.

Phua on Sept 13 had informed the integrated engineering, real estate and infrastructure group that he is currently in negotiations for the sale of part of his shares in the company.

A day before, TEE International had called for a trading halt to announce that it has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers Risk Services as an external investigator to look into unauthorised payments totalling $6.55 million.

See: TEE International appointing investigator to look into unauthorised payments totalling $6.55 mil

This comes after Phua, who is also the group’s CEO and managing director, was found to have allegedly approved remittances made by TEE International's wholly owned units PBT Engineering and Trans Equatorial between July 2018 and March 2019.

The payments had been made to Phua and Oscar Investment, a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and wholly-owned by Phua.

In earlier filings to the Singapore Exchange on Sept 4, TEE International said the board and the executive committee were not aware of the remittances.

As at Aug 29 this year, all the money remitted have been fully repaid to the group.

The unauthorised remittances were discovered by the group when it was preparing its financial statements for the full year ended May 31.

External auditor Deloitte had raised a red flag when it was unable to verify the nature of the remittances.

Phua was relieved of his responsibilities on Sept 6. His younger brother, Phua Boon Kin, who was deputy group managing director, has been appointed interim CEO.

The younger Phua has also taken over his brother’s posts in the executive and nominating committee.

The group sank to full year losses of $17.8 million for the FY19 ended May, some 78.2% worse than the net loss of $10.0 million reported a year ago.

See: TEE International sees FY19 losses widen to $17.8 mil despite higher revenue

Shares in TEE International have plunged 79% since the start of the year.

 It has fallen 40% in September alone, and closed at 3.5 cents on Sept 12 before the trading halt was called at 10.24am.