Singapore, 16 September 2010 - Singapore Press Holdings Limited said today that it has dismissed Mr Peter Khoo Chong Meng, a senior vice president in the English & Malay Newspapers Division, after he voluntarily admitted to receiving illegal payments and misappropriating shopping vouchers handled by his Editorial Projects Unit. These vouchers were intended for branding and promotion activities of The Straits Times, which his unit organises.
Mr Khoo, who served 22 years in SPH, has made restitution of $196,500 for the payments he admitted to receiving illegally and for the vouchers he misappropriated.
A police report has been made and investigations are ongoing.
Mr Khoo also chaired the organising committee which coordinates events and activities to raise funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (“STPMF”). He has been replaced in this role with immediate effect by Ms Bertha Henson, associate editor of The Straits Times, who will also head the Editorial Projects Unit.
The STPMF is administered by the National Council of Social Service (“NCSS”). While the Editorial Projects Unit organises fund-raising activities for the STPMF, donations received are forwarded to the NCSS for crediting into the STPMF account maintained by NCSS. The funds are subsequently disbursed by NCSS through voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) to needy students. Donations received by NCSS are acknowledged with official receipts.
To the best of the Company’s knowledge, none of the donations made to the STPMF has been misappropriated.
Mr Alan Chan, Chief Executive Officer of SPH, said:" SPH takes a serious view of the matter. We are reviewing our internal processes and will do whatever is necessary to tighten our procedures in all aspects, including that of the Pocket Money Fund. Our external auditors have also been informed."
Mr Han Fook Kwang, Editor of The Straits Times, said: "This is a big setback for us. While we do not believe the STPMF was involved, I would like to assure our many donors and supporters that it is our top priority to maintain the integrity of the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund. The editors and journalists of the Straits Times want to continue our efforts to help needy children."
Ms Ang Bee Lian, Chief Executive Officer of NCSS, said: "NCSS has in place administrative and audit processes including the engagement of external auditors to ensure that the STPMF has been appropriately disbursed to Voluntary Welfare Organisations for the clients.”
Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E
For more information, please contact:
Chin Soo Fang
Singapore Press Holdings
DID: 6319 1216
About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009. It is Southeast Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.
Newspapers and Magazines
In Singapore, SPH publishes 17 newspaper titles in four languages. Every day, 3 million individuals or 79 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology.
Internet and Mobile
Beyond print, the Internet editions of SPH newspapers enjoy over 225 million pageviews with 15 million unique visitors every month. Apart from SPH AsiaOne portal, SPH's online and new media initiatives include an online marketplace for products, services and employment, ST701; local search and directory engine, rednano.sg; Stomp (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that connects, engages and interacts with readers on the Web and via mobile phone messaging; omy.sg, a bilingual news and interactive portal and The Straits Times RazorTV, a free access interactive webcast service offering live chat shows and video-on-demand clips.
SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. In the radio business, SPH has an 80 per cent stake in SPH UnionWorks Pte Ltd, which operates entertainment stations Radio 100.3 in Mandarin and 91.3FM in English.
Events and Outdoor Advertising
SPH’s events subsidiary Sphere Exhibits organises innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions. In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore’s largest outdoor motion display advertising network media company.
SPH owns and manages Paragon, the prime retail and office complex in the heart of Orchard Road, Singapore's main shopping belt. SPH's wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, has also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road. The Clementi Mall, SPH's latest retail mall, will be operational in 2011.