ACRA means business when it comes to multiple breaches of Companies Act


Previously, conviction of breach of Companies Act for failure to hold annual general meetings or filing annual returns ranged no more than $1,800. However, since mid 2018, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”) is seen to take a firm and serious stance on offenders who persistently fail to comply and hold annual general meetings and file annual returns on time.

 

On 17 July 2018, a company director was convicted and fined a record $57,000 for 38 charges ($1,500 per charge) in the State Courts. Lawrence Fong Kok Liong pleaded guilty to the charges for offences under sections 175 and 197 of the Companies Act (CA) for failing to hold the annual general meetings, and failing to file annual returns for 19 companies. He was also convicted in 2014 for similar offences and compounded 60 similar offences.

 

On 21 February 2019, a company director was fined a record $113,400 for 54 charges ($2,100 per charge) in the State Courts. On 14 November 2018, Tan Hang Song was found guilty of multiple offences under sections 175 and 197 of the Companies Act for being a company director who knowingly and wilfully permitted 9 companies to default in holding the annual general meetings, and in filing annual returns. Tan will also be disqualified from acting as a director of companies for a period of 5 years.

  

The holding of annual general meetings and filing of annual returns are important statutory requirements. The annual general meeting provides a forum for shareholders to be informed of the financial position of the company and to engage the directors of the company on matters of the company. Filing annual return on time enables timely public disclosure of key information such as the financial performance and position of the company.

 

 


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