Squeaky clean Singapore is not so clean after all. A high court has found Goh Jin Hian, the son of former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong liable for causing losses of $146mn when he was director of now-insolvent marine fuel supplying company Inter-Pacific Petroleum (IPP).
The court ruled in favour of IPP which had sued Goh for breaching his director’s duty. The company claimed that Goh failed to look into certain issues which would have led him to realise that the company was being defrauded, while Goh said that there was no breach.
The judge ruled that the evidence presented in court pointed to the fact that Goh played an active role in the management of the company and had assumed responsibilities, and obtained knowledge and information.
If Goh had performed his duties, transactions and drawdowns that caused loss to the company would not have been carried out, the judge said.
Goh’s failure to act on red flags and pursue further inquiries indicated a breach of duties, causing the losses claimed by IPP, he noted.
Goh told Strait Times that he was “considering an appeal against the judgment and will discuss this with my lawyers”.
Goh was on the board of IPP from 2011 to 2019. His chequered tenure has come under scrutiny in another case according to media reports which is related to charges of false trading offences linked to New Silkroutes Group.
In 2020, he stepped down as non-independent, non-executive chairman of healthcare and energy firm New Silkroutes Group and resigned as independent director of cord-blood banking firm Cordlife Group.
In September 2023, Goh and three other men were handed a total of 132 charges related to false trading offences in the state courts.
The case comes in the midst of financial scandals in Singapore, which is known for its stringent stance against corruption.
Singapore’s transport minister S. Iswaran has been charged with 27 offences in a graft investigation, the anti-corruption agency announced in January in one of highest-profile cases involving a minister in the Asian financial hub in decades.