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Former Pokka International CEO fined for failing to disclose interest in transactions

SINGAPORE: The former CEO of Pokka International was on Monday (Aug 22) fined S$15,000 for failing to disclose his interest in three business transactions.

Ong Eng Sing, 47 and also known as Alain Ong, was also barred from acting as a company director or managing a company for two years.

He pleaded guilty to three charges under the Companies Act, the Singapore Police Force said in a news release.

From 2010 to 2017, Ong held various positions in Pokka International and Pokka Corporation (Singapore), including acting as director of both beverage companies.

During the same period, he also owned 40 per cent of Asian Story Corporation (ASC), another beverage company.

Between 2010 and 2017, the two Pokka entities entered into three agreements with ASC.

These included a distribution agreement and framework between Pokka International and ASC in 2010 and 2017, and a manufacturing agreement between Pokka Corporation and ASC in 2016.

“On all three occasions, Ong did not disclose his interest in these transactions to Pokka International or Pokka Corporation,” said the police.

Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh sought the sentence imposed, citing the need to deter serious lapses in corporate behaviour.

He highlighted that Ong did not disclose his interest in ASC at any time during the seven years over which the offences took place.

Mr Koh added that Ong has not provided any explanation for the failure to disclose his interest, which was relevant for determining the appropriate sentence.

Defence counsels Timothy Tan and Tara Heng said that their client accepted the prosecution’s sentencing position, and highlighted his “foresight and devotion to Pokka”.

“Despite having partial, indirect, and beneficial interest in ASC, (Ong) had never abused his position in Pokka,” they said.

They also said that he was remorseful and had readily cooperated with Commercial Affairs Department investigations.

Ong could have been jailed for up to a year or fined up to S$5,000 for failing to disclose his indirect interest in a transaction.

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