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It has been almost one month since Dr Chee Soon Juan offered to pay Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong $30,000 to clear his bankruptcy. But the Official Assignee (OA) has yet to convey the message to the two former prime ministers.$CUT$
(Photo: Official Assignee Mavis Chionh, centre front row, with IPTO officers.)
Dr Chee has replied to the OA and urged her to assist the process and relay the offer to Mr Lee and Mr Goh without further delay and obtain their responses to the offer. Below is the latest round of correspondence.
17 August 2011
Dear Dr Chee,
We refer to your email dated 8 August2012.
2. We would like to point out that theOfficial Assignee (OA) will need to convey your debt settlementproposal to all your creditors whose claims have been admitted, notjust to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong. This is because all thecreditors who have filed claims against your estate in bankruptcy areentitled to receive any available dividend. IPTO cannot exclude anyone of them from the OA’s communication of your intention to obtainan annulment of the Bankruptcy Order through your proposal. Yourproposal also needs to be accepted by a majority in number and atleast 75% in value of your creditors for an annulment to be granted.
3. We would further like to clarify thata bankrupt may not necessarily be discharged from bankruptcy afterthree years, even if he makes monthly payments towards the amountowed. Other factors are considered such as whether the creditorsobject to the bankrupt’s discharge, as well as the total amountpaid towards the bankruptcy estate relative to the total debt size.
4. We will convey your debt settlementproposal to all your creditors, and will keep you informed when wereceive your creditors’ responses and their counter-proposals, ifany.
5. We alsoacknowledge receipt of your travel application on 14 August 2012, andwill respond to it shortly.
For OFFICIAL ASSIGNEE
21 August 2011
Dear Ms Lydia Loh,
With reference to your email of 17August 2011, I am disappointed that you have yet to conveymy offer of composition of $30,000 to my creditors, Mr Lee Kuan Yewand Mr Goh Chok Tong.
It has been nearly one month since I first contactedyou about the offer and IPTO has yet to relay it to Mr Lee and Mr Goh.
I understand that all my creditors needto be informed of my intention to obtain an annulment of my Bankruptcy Order. But as you said in your previous email to me,these comprise of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and theDevelopment Bank of Singapore (DBS) who have already filed their proofs of debt.
in addition, the claims by the AGC and DBS are atiny fraction of the amount I have to pay Mr Lee and Mr Goh who hold –by far – at least 75% in value of all the creditors in mycase. And yet, these two major creditors still haven’t been informed of my offer.
Your email says that bankrupts “may notnecessarily be discharged from bankruptcy after three years, even ifhe makes monthly payments towards the amount owed.” But I have beentold by IPTO in the briefing that I attended in 2006 that if a bankrupt iscooperative by making a sincere effort to make monthly payments tohis/her creditors, the OA will apply to discharge him/her afterthree years.
Several lawyers (as well as individualswho were bankrupts before) have told me that they have had clientswho paid only a small percentage of what they owed to their creditorswhen their bankruptcy orders were annulled. Some did not even payanything. I am sure your records would show this.
In my case, I am offering to pay Mr Leeand Mr Goh not just three years of monthly instalments but six. Ontop of this, I have added more than $10,000. It is tremendouslydifficult to raise this amount of money but I am going to try. I ammaking a sincere effort to pay what I can to my creditors in order todischarge my bankruptcy.
I note that IPTO indicates in itswebsitethat the role of the OA is as such:
The OfficialAssignee is a public servant and an officer of the Court. His role istwo-fold; to realise all the bankrupt’s assets for distribution tohis creditors and to assist the bankrupt in obtaining a discharge.
As an administrator of the bankruptcy estate, he also has theduty to investigate a bankrupt’s conduct while the latter remains abankrupt. The duties of the Official Assignee include adjudication ofcreditors’ claims, payment of dividends and assist bankrupts inattaining a discharge from bankruptcy.
In situationswhere there are disputes between a bankrupt and his creditorsregarding the quantum of a debt or the amount of payment of the debt,the Official Assignee will act as mediator to assist in reaching amutually acceptable proposal. (emphases mine)
In order for the OA to assist me inattaining a discharge from my bankruptcy, she needs to first convey myoffer to my creditors. If they dispute this offer, the OA will thenbe able to mediate and assist all parties to come to a mutually acceptableproposal.
In view of this, I look forward to IPTOassisting me by conveying my offer to Mr Lee and Mr Goh withoutfurther delay and obtaining their responses. There is no reason whymy creditors cannot be immediately informed of my offer. Thank you.
Chee Soon Juan