The Auditor-General's Office (AGO) has reported that certain documents relating to the National Parks Board's development of the Gardens by the Bay may have been created and backdated to give the impression that they existed when the transactions took place, and deemed a "serious irregularity".
An internal inquiry by the Ministry of National Development (MND) confirmed that an NParks officer had indeed created and backdated 16 letters, purportedly issued by NParks to its suppliers, to satisfy AGO queries. The same officer also arranged for the suppliers to issue a further 11 backdated letters - 5 of which were created by the officer on their behalf. In plain English, someone also fibbed to another civil service officer.
And, as in the early stage of the Brompton bike fiasco, MND is quick to claim that the integrity of the system of contract variations and payments has not been compromised. An eery similitude of Khaw Boon Wan's premature judgment that the purchase of the $2,600 foldable bikes was above board.
However, the AGO is skeptical about MND's trite explanation that their officer had fooled the system "so to regularise gaps in the documentation of communications with the suppliers for completeness of record". Apparently in the MND scheme of things, lying to an investigating officer is part of the company culture. Or it's just how the minister in charge downplays any evidence of shenanigans.