SINGAPORE (June 22): Shareholders at the AGM of Allied Technologies voted to kick out three of the company’s five directors. 

However, SGX RegCo has compelled the board to stay on and sit through a special audit still in process, and help clean up the mess of missing $33 million from an escrow account. As such, the three directors have been reappointed. 

At the company’s AGM held on June 10, shareholders voted against the re-election of executive director Kenneth Low Si Ren by 57.15% vs 42.85%; they voted 77.79% vs 22.21% against chairman Chin Chee Choon.

An overwhelming 96.46% voted against the re-appointment of Clement Leow Wee Kia, the company’s CEO, as an executive director. 

Besides these three directors, Allied Technologies’ board consists of two other independent directors Lim Jin Wei, and Pok Mee Yau, who worked in the same law firm JLC Advisors as Jeffrey Ong Su Aun (picture), the lawyer who allegedly ran away with the escrow money.

At the AGM, shareholders refused to reappoint Ernst & Young LLP, the company’s auditor as well. They voted 61.71% against. An EGM will be called to address this issue.

However, shareholders approved directors’ fees of $138,411 for FY2018 and a higher quantum of $190,110 for FY2019.

Allied Technologies hit headlines last year when the $33 million in the escrow account was allegedly taken away by Ong. He was subsequently found to have fled to Malaysia but has been found and repatriated back to Singapore in May 2019.

Up till that time, Ong was also chairman of Annica Holdings, a company with known links to the web of penny stocks allegedly under the control of John Soh Chee Wen and his associates.

Since then, Ong is under remand and facing a growing list of more than two dozen charges, including criminal breach of trust. None of the charges thus far relates to Allied Technologies.

When Ong’s alleged misdeeds came to light, SGX RegCo compelled Allied Technologies to launch a special audit and PricewaterhouseCoopers Risk Services was hired for this task. The board, under whose watch the incident took place, was to stay put and resolve the matters.

The Commercial Affairs Department has also launched its probe.

At the AGM, Allied Technologies told shareholders that special audit is on-going and that the company is extending its full co-operation. 

At this point in time, none of the escrow monies have been recovered from Ong. 

“Such investigations may uncover further facts and/or relevant parties that might be culpable which the company is unaware of at present,” says Allied Technologies, referring to the CAD probe and special audit.

“The company will continue to work with its solicitors Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP on the recovery of the escrow monies and will make the necessary announcements to shareholders on material matters,” it adds.

(This is an updated version to correct that it was chairman Chin Chee Choon who was voted out, and not independent director Lim Jin Wei as earlier reported).