Possession, control and realisation of bankrupt’s property
—(1) The Official Assignee shall forthwith after the bankruptcy order take possession of —
the deeds, books and documents which relate to the bankrupt’s estate or affairs and which belong to him or are under his control; and
all other parts of his property capable of manual delivery.
(2) The Official Assignee shall, in relation to and for the purpose of acquiring or retaining possession of the property of the bankrupt, be in the same position as if he were a receiver of the property appointed by the court, and the court may on his application enforce the acquisition or retention accordingly.
(3) Where any part of the property of the bankrupt consists of stock, shares in ships, shares or any other property transferable in the books of any company, office or person, the Official Assignee may exercise the right to transfer the property to the same extent as the bankrupt might have exercised it if he had not become bankrupt.
(4) Where any part of the property of the bankrupt consists of things in action, those things shall be deemed to have been duly assigned to the Official Assignee.
(5) Any banker or agent of the bankrupt or any other person who holds any property to the account of, or for, the bankrupt shall pay and deliver to the Official Assignee all moneys and securities in his possession or under his control which he is not by law entitled to retain as against the bankrupt or the Official Assignee.
(6) Any person who fails to comply with subsection (5) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.
—(1) At any time after a bankruptcy order has been made, the Official Assignee or any person authorised by him may take an inventory of and seize any property comprised in the bankrupt’s estate which is, or any books, papers or records relating to the bankrupt’s estate or affairs which are, in the possession or under the control of the bankrupt or any other person who is required to deliver the property, books, papers or records to the Official Assignee.
(2) The Official Assignee or any person authorised by him may, for the purposes of taking an inventory of or seizing any property comprised in the bankrupt’s estate or any books, papers or records relating to the bankrupt’s estate or affairs, break open any premises where the bankrupt or anything that may be seized under subsection (1) is or is believed to be and any receptacle of the bankrupt which contains or is believed to contain anything that may be so seized.
(3) If, after a bankruptcy order has been made, the court is satisfied that any property comprised in the bankrupt’s estate is, or any books, papers or records relating to the bankrupt’s estate or affairs are, concealed in any premises not belonging to the bankrupt, the court may issue a warrant authorising any public officer to search those premises for the property, books, papers or records.
(4) A warrant under subsection (3) shall not be executed except in the prescribed manner and in accordance with its terms.
—(1) Where the bankrupt is an officer of the Singapore Armed Forces or a public officer or otherwise employed or engaged in the public service of the Government, the Official Assignee shall receive for distribution amongst the creditors so much of the bankrupt’s pay or salary as the court, on the application of the Official Assignee, directs.
(2) Where a bankrupt is —
in receipt of a salary or income other than as mentioned in subsection (1); or
entitled to any half-pay, pension or compensation granted by the Government or any other employer,
the court shall, on the application of the Official Assignee, subject to any written law relating to pensions, make such order as it may think just for the payment of the salary, income, half-pay, pension or compensation or of any part thereof to the Official Assignee, to be applied by him in such manner as the court directs.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to abrogate the right of the Government to dismiss a bankrupt or to declare the pension, half-pay or compensation of any bankrupt to be forfeited.
(4) In fixing the amount to be received by the Official Assignee under this section, the court shall, without prejudice to subsection (5), have regard to the scale of appropriation of salary in any general rule made for the purposes of this section by the Minister under section 166.
(5) The court may, in its discretion, fix a larger or smaller amount than the amount provided in the scale.
—(1) Where any part of the property of the bankrupt consists of —
land of any tenure burdened with onerous covenants;
shares or stock in companies;
unprofitable contracts; or
any other property that is unsaleable or not readily saleable by reason of its binding the possessor thereof to the performance of any onerous act or to the payment of any sum of money,
the Official Assignee, notwithstanding that he has endeavoured to sell or has taken possession of the property or exercised any act of ownership in relation thereto, but subject to this section, may, by writing signed by him, at any time disclaim the property.
(2) The disclaimer shall —
operate to determine as from the date of disclaimer the rights, interests and liabilities of the bankrupt and his property in or in respect of the property disclaimed; and
discharge the Official Assignee from all personal liability in respect of the property disclaimed as from the date when the property vested in him.
(3) The disclaimer shall not, except so far as is necessary for the purpose of releasing the bankrupt and his property and the Official Assignee from liability, affect the rights or liabilities of any other person.
(4) The Official Assignee shall not be entitled to disclaim a lease without the leave of the court, except in any case which may be prescribed or where all persons interested in the property consent to the disclaimer.
(5) The court may, before or on granting leave —
require such notices to be given to persons interested and impose such terms as a condition of granting leave; and
make such orders with respect to fixtures, tenant’s improvements and other matters arising out of the tenancy,
as the court thinks just.
(6) The Official Assignee shall not be entitled to disclaim any property, in pursuance of this section, in any case where —
an application in writing has been made to him by any person interested in the property, requiring him to decide whether he will disclaim or not; and
he has for a period of 21 days after the receipt of the application, or such extended period as is allowed by the court, declined or neglected to give notice whether he disclaims the property or not,
and in the case of a contract, if the Official Assignee, after such application as aforesaid, does not within the said period or extended period disclaim the contract, he shall be deemed to have adopted it.
(7) The court may, on the application of any person who is, as against the Official Assignee, entitled to the benefit or subject to the burden of a contract made with the bankrupt, make an order rescinding the contract on such terms as to payment by or to, either party of damages for the non-performance of the contract or otherwise as to the court seems equitable.
(8) Any damages payable under the order made under subsection (7) to any person may be proved by him as a debt under the bankruptcy.
(9) The court may —
on application by any person either claiming any interest in any disclaimed property or under any liability not discharged by this Act in respect of any disclaimed property;
on hearing such persons as the court may think fit; and
on such terms as the court may think just,
make an order for the vesting of the property in or delivery thereof to —
any person entitled thereto;
any person to whom it seems just that the same should be delivered by way of compensation for such liability as aforesaid; or
a trustee for any person referred to in sub-paragraph (i) or (ii).
(10) On the vesting order being made under subsection (9), the property comprised therein shall vest accordingly in the person therein named in that behalf, without any conveyance or assignment for the purpose.
(11) Where the property disclaimed is of a leasehold nature, the court shall not make a vesting order in favour of any person claiming under the bankrupt, whether as under-lessee or as mortgagee by demise, except upon the terms of making the person subject to the same liabilities and obligations as the bankrupt was subject to under the lease in respect of the property at the date when the bankruptcy petition was presented.
(12) Any mortgagee or under-lessee declining to accept a vesting order upon those terms shall be excluded from all interest in and security upon the property.
(13) If there is no person claiming under the bankrupt who is willing to accept an order upon those terms, the court shall have power to vest the bankrupt’s estate and interest in the property in any person liable (either personally or in a representative character, and either alone or jointly with the bankrupt) to perform the lessee’s covenants in the lease, freed and discharged from all estates, encumbrances and interests created therein by the bankrupt.
(14) Any person sustaining loss or damage by the operation of a disclaimer under this section shall be deemed to be a creditor of the bankrupt to the extent of the loss or damage, and may accordingly prove the same as a debt under the bankruptcy.
111. Subject to this Act, the Official Assignee may —
sell all or any part of the property of a bankrupt, including the goodwill of his business, if any, and the book debts due or accruing due to him, by tender, public auction or private contract, with power to transfer the whole thereof to any person or to sell the same in parcels;
give receipts for any money received by him, being receipts which effectually discharge the person paying the money from all responsibility in respect of the application thereof;
prove, rank, claim, and draw a dividend in respect of any debt due to the bankrupt;
exercise any power, the capacity to exercise which is vested in the Official Assignee under this Act, and execute any power of attorney, deeds and other instrument for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this Act; and
deal with any property to which the bankrupt is beneficially entitled as tenant in tail, or other owner of an estate of inheritance less than an estate in fee simple, in the same manner as the bankrupt might have dealt with it; and any such dealing with any property to which the bankrupt is, before his discharge, so entitled shall, although the bankrupt is dead at the time of that dealing, be as valid and have the same operation as though the bankrupt were then alive.
112. The Official Assignee may exercise any of the following powers:
carry on any business of the bankrupt so far as is necessary for winding it up beneficially;
bring, institute or defend any action or legal proceedings relating to the property of the bankrupt;
employ an advocate and solicitor to take any proceedings or do any business;
accept, as the consideration for the sale of any property of the bankrupt, a sum of money payable at a future time, subject to such stipulations as to security or otherwise as he thinks fit;
mortgage or pledge any part of the property of the bankrupt for the purpose of raising money for the payment of his debts;
refer any dispute to arbitration, or compromise all debts, claims and liabilities, whether present or future, certain or contingent, liquidated or unliquidated, subsisting or supposed to subsist, between the bankrupt and any person who may have incurred any liability to the bankrupt, on the receipt of such sums payable at such times, and generally on such terms as are agreed on;
make such compromise or other arrangement as is thought expedient with creditors or persons claiming to be creditors in respect of any debts provable under the bankruptcy;
make such compromise or other arrangement as is thought expedient with respect to any claim arising out of or incidental to the property of the bankrupt, made or capable of being made on the Official Assignee by any person or by the Official Assignee on any person; and
divide in its existing form, amongst the creditors according to its estimated value, any property which from its peculiar nature or other special circumstances cannot be readily or advantageously sold.
—(1) The Official Assignee may, if satisfied that the nature of the bankrupt’s estate or business or the interests of the creditors generally require the appointment of a special manager of the estate or business other than the Official Assignee, appoint a manager thereof accordingly to act, and with such powers, including any of the powers of a receiver, as are entrusted to him by the Official Assignee.
(2) The bankrupt may be appointed special manager.
(3) A special manager shall give such security and account in such manner as the Official Assignee may direct.
(4) The special manager shall receive such remuneration as the Official Assignee may determine.
—(1) The Official Assignee may appoint the bankrupt himself to superintend the management of his property or any part of the property, or to carry on his trade (if any) for the benefit of his creditors, and in any other respect to aid in administering the property in such manner and on such terms as the Official Assignee directs.
(2) The Official Assignee may make such allowance as he may think just to the bankrupt out of his property for the support of the bankrupt and his family, or in consideration of his service if he is engaged in winding up his estate, but the court may reduce the allowance and limit the time for which it may be made.
(3) Where the bankrupt has died, the Official Assignee may make an allowance to members of the bankrupt’s family for their support.
(4) The Official Assignee may also make an allowance to defray the funeral expenses of the bankrupt.
—(1) Where a bankruptcy order has been made, the Official Assignee may from time to time direct the public postal licensee under the Postal Services Act 1999 (Act 42 of 1999) to re-direct and send or deliver to the Official Assignee or otherwise any postal article which would otherwise be sent or delivered by it to the bankrupt at such place or places as may be specified in the direction.
(2) A direction under this section shall have effect for such period, not exceeding 3 months, as may be specified in the direction.
—(1) The Official Assignee may, if he thinks necessary for the purposes of ensuring that a bankrupt does not leave Singapore during the administration of his estate, issue a direction to the Controller of Immigration to request that the bankrupt be prevented from leaving Singapore.
(2) Subject to any order issued or made under any written law relating to banishment or immigration, the Controller of Immigration shall pursuant to the direction under subsection (1) take, or cause to be taken by any immigration officer, such measures as may be necessary to prevent the bankrupt named in the direction from leaving Singapore, including the detention of the bankrupt’s passport, certificate of identity or travel document authorising the bankrupt to leave or enter Singapore.
(3) Where the Controller of Immigration has detained the passport, certificate of identity or other travel documents of a bankrupt under subsection (2), the Controller shall forthwith forward the passport, certificate of identity or travel document to the Official Assignee.
(4) Notwithstanding subsections (1), (2) and (3), the Official Assignee may, if he thinks fit, detain any passport, certificate of identity or other travel document authorising the bankrupt to leave or enter Singapore.