228. This Part does not authorise any investigation into the insurance business of a company or into the business of a banking corporation, unless specifically provided for in this Part.
[Aust., 1961, s. 168 (2)]
229. In this Part, unless the contrary intention appears —
“company” includes a foreign company which is a declared company;
“declared company” means a company or foreign company which the Minister has by order declared to be a company to which this Part applies;
“officer or agent”, in relation to a corporation, includes —
a director, banker, solicitor or auditor of the corporation;
a person who at any time —
has been a person referred to in paragraph (a); or
has been otherwise employed or appointed by the corporation;
a person who —
has in his possession any property of the corporation;
is indebted to the corporation; or
is capable of giving information concerning the promotion, formation, trading, dealings, affairs or property of the corporation; and
where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting or believing that a person is a person referred to in paragraph (c) — that person.
[Aust., 1961, ss. 168 (2), 172 (1)]
230. The Minister may by order declare that a company or foreign company is a company to which this Part applies if he is satisfied —
that a prima facie case has been established that, for the protection of the public or the shareholders or creditors of the company or foreign company, it is desirable that the affairs of the company or foreign company should be investigated under this Part;
that it is in the public interest that allegations of fraud, misfeasance or other misconduct by persons who are or have been concerned with the formation or management of the company or foreign company should be investigated under this Part;
that for any other reason it is in the public interest that the affairs of the company or foreign company should be investigated under this Part; or
in the case of a foreign company, that the appropriate authority of another country has requested that a declaration be made pursuant to this section in respect of the company.
[Aust., 1961, s. 172 (2) and (3)]
—(1) Where a company or foreign company has been declared to be a company to which this Part applies, the Minister shall appoint one or more inspectors to investigate the affairs of that company, and to report his opinion thereon to the Minister.
(2) An inspector appointed under subsection (1) may, at any time in the course of his investigation, without the necessity of making an interim report, inform the Minister of matters coming to his knowledge as a result of the investigation which tend to show that an offence has been committed; and the Minister may thereafter take such steps as he may consider fit.
(3) The expenses of and incidental to an investigation of a declared company shall be defrayed in the first instance out of moneys provided by Parliament.
(4) Where the Minister is of the opinion that the whole or any part of the expenses of and incidental to the investigation should be paid by the company or by any person who is convicted on a prosecution brought under section 233(3) or who is ordered to pay damages or restore property in proceedings under section 233(4) the Minister may by notification in the Gazette direct that the expenses be so paid.
(5) A notification under subsection (4) may specify the time or times and the manner in which the payment of the expenses shall be made.
(6) Where a notification has been published by the Minister under subsection (5) the persons named in the notification to the extent therein specified shall be liable to reimburse the Minister in respect of such expenses.
(7) Action to recover any such expenses may be taken in the name of the Government in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(8) Where a notification under subsection (4) has been published for the payment of the whole or part of the expenses by a company and the company is in liquidation or subsequently goes into liquidation the expenses so ordered to be paid by the company shall be deemed to be part of the costs and expenses of the winding up for the purposes of section 328(1)(a).
(9) The report of the inspector may if he thinks fit, and shall, if the Minister so directs, include a recommendation as to the terms of the notification which he thinks proper in the light of his investigation to be given by the Minister under subsection (4).
[Aust., 1961, s. 173]
—(1) The Minister may appoint one or more inspectors to investigate the affairs of a company or such aspects of the affairs of a company as are specified in the instrument of appointment and to report thereon in such manner as the Minister directs —
in the case of a company having a share capital, on the application of —
not less than 200 members (excluding the company itself if it is registered as a member) or of members holding not less than 10% of the shares issued (excluding treasury shares); or
holders of debentures holding not less than 20% in nominal value of debentures issued;
in the case of a company not having a share capital, on the application of not less than 20% in number of the persons on the company’s register of members; or
in any case on the application of a company in pursuance of a special resolution.
(2) An application under this section shall be supported by such evidence as the Minister requires as to the reasons for the application and the motives of the applicants in requiring the investigation, and the Minister may before appointing an inspector require the applicants to give security for such amount as he thinks fit for payment of the cost of the investigation.
[UK, Treasury Shares, Sch., para. 23; Aust., 1961, s. 169]
—(1) An inspector appointed by the Minister may, and if so directed by the Minister shall, make interim reports to the Minister and on the conclusion of the investigation the inspector shall report his opinion on or in relation to the affairs that he has been appointed to investigate together with the facts upon which his opinion is based to the Minister, and a copy of the report shall, subject to subsection (1B), be forwarded by the Minister to the registered office of the company, and a further copy shall, subject to that subsection, at the request of the applicants be delivered to them.
(1A) Subject to subsections (1B) and (1C), the Minister shall give a copy of a report made under this Part to each person to whom in the opinion of the Minister the report ought to be given by reason that it relates to the affairs of that person to a material extent.
(1B) The Minister is not bound to furnish a company, an applicant or any other person with a copy of the report or any part thereof if he is of the opinion that there is good reason for not divulging the contents of the report or any part thereof.
(1C) Subject to subsection (1D), the Minister shall not give a copy of a report made under this Part to a person under subsection (1A) if he believes that legal proceedings that have been or, in his opinion, might be instituted, might be unduly prejudiced by giving the report to that person.
(1D) A court before which legal proceedings are brought against a person for or in respect of matters dealt with in a report under this Part may order that a copy of the report or part thereof shall be given to that person.
(2) The Minister may, if he is of the opinion that it is necessary in the public interest to do so, cause the report to be printed and published but shall refrain from so doing if the Attorney-General has certified in writing that publication of the report would be prejudicial to the administration of justice.
(3) If from any report of an inspector appointed by the Minister it appears to the Minister that the case is one in which a prosecution ought to be instituted, he shall cause a prosecution to be instituted accordingly and all officers and agents of the company (other than the defendant in the proceedings) shall on being required by the Minister to do so give all assistance in connection with the prosecution which they are reasonably able to give.
(4) If from any report of an inspector appointed by the Minister it appears to the Minister that proceedings ought in the public interest to be brought by any company dealt with by the report for the recovery of damages in respect of any fraud, misfeasance or other misconduct in connection with the promotion or formation of that company or in the management of its affairs or for the recovery of any property of the company which has been misapplied or wrongfully retained, he may himself bring proceedings for that purpose in the name of the company.
[Aust., 1961, s. 178]
Investigation by resolution of company
234. [Repealed by Act 13 of 1987]
235. Where an inspector thinks it necessary for the purposes of the investigation of the affairs of a company to investigate the affairs of a corporation which is or has at any relevant time been a corporation deemed to be related by virtue of section 6 to the company, he may, with the consent in writing of the Minister, investigate the affairs of that corporation.
[Aust., 1961, s. 172]
—(1) If an inspector appointed to investigate the affairs of a company thinks it necessary for the purposes of the investigation to investigate also the affairs of any other corporation which is or has at any relevant time been deemed to be or to have been related to that company by virtue of section 6, he shall have power to do so, and he shall report on the affairs of the other corporation so far as he thinks the results of the investigation thereof are relevant to the investigation of the affairs of the company.
(2) Every officer and agent of a corporation the affairs of which are being investigated under this Part shall, if required by an inspector appointed under this Part, produce to the inspector all books and documents in his custody or power and shall give to the inspector all assistance in connection with the investigation which he is reasonably able to give.
(3) An inspector may, by notice in the prescribed form, require any officer or agent of any corporation whose affairs are being investigated pursuant to this Part to appear for examination on oath or affirmation (which he is hereby authorised to administer) in relation to its business; and the notice may require the production of all books and documents in the custody or under the control of that officer or agent.
(4) An inspector who, pursuant to this section, requires the production of all books and documents in the custody or power or under the control of an officer or agent of any corporation whose affairs are being investigated under or pursuant to this Part —
may take possession of all such books and documents;
may retain all such books and documents for such time as he considers to be necessary for the purpose of the investigation; and
shall permit such corporation to have access at all reasonable times to all such books and documents so long as they are in his possession.
(4A) If an inspector has reasonable grounds for believing that a director or past director of the company or of a corporation which is or has at any time been deemed to be or to have been related to that company by virtue of section 6 whose affairs the inspector is investigating maintains or has maintained a bank account of any description, whether alone or jointly with another person and whether in Singapore or elsewhere, into or out of which there has been paid any money which has been in any way connected with any act or omission or series of acts or omissions, which on the part of that director constituted misconduct (whether fraudulent or not towards that company or that related company or its members), an inspector may require the director to produce to him all documents in the director’s possession or under his control relating to that bank account.
(5) If any officer or agent of any corporation, the affairs of which are being investigated pursuant to this Part, fails to comply with the requirements of any notice issued under subsection (3) or fails or refuses to answer any question which is put to him by an inspector with respect to the affairs of the corporation or that officer or agent is a director or past director to whom subsection (4A) applies, if he fails to comply with a requirement of an inspector under that subsection, the inspector may certify the failure or refusal under his hand to the Court, which may thereupon inquire into the case and, after hearing any witnesses against or on behalf of the alleged offender and any statement offered in defence, punish the offender in like manner as if he had been guilty of contempt of the Court.
(6) No person, who is or has formerly been an officer or agent of a corporation the affairs of which are being investigated under this Part, shall be entitled to refuse to answer any question which is relevant or material to the investigation on the ground that his answer might tend to incriminate him but if he claims that the answer to any question, might incriminate him and but for this subsection he would have been entitled to refuse to answer the question, the answer to the question shall not be used in any subsequent criminal proceedings except in the case of a charge against him for making a false statement in answer to that question.
(7) Subject to subsection (6), any person shall be entitled to refuse to answer a question on the ground that the answer might tend to incriminate him.
(8) An inspector may cause notes of any examination under this Part to be recorded and reduced to writing and to be read to or by and signed by the person examined and any such signed notes may except in the case of any answer which that person would not have been required to give but for subsection (6) thereafter be used in evidence in any legal proceedings against that person.
[Aust., 1961, ss. 173-176]
—(1) The expenses of and incidental to an investigation by an inspector appointed pursuant to sections 232 and 243 (including the costs of any proceedings brought by the Minister in the name of the company), shall be paid by the company investigated or if the Minister so directs by the applicants or in part by the company and in part by the applicants.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) —
if the company fails to pay the whole or any part of the sum which it is so liable to pay, the applicants shall make good the deficiency up to the amount by which the security given by them under this Part exceeds the amount, if any, which they have under subsection (1) been directed by the Minister to pay; and
any balance of the expenses not paid either by the company or the applicants shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament.
[Aust., 1961, s. 179]
238. A copy of the report of any inspector appointed under this Part, certified as correct by the Minister, shall be admissible in any legal proceedings as evidence of the opinion of the inspector and of the facts upon which his opinion is based in relation to any matter contained in the report.
[Aust., 1961, s. 178 (10)]
—(1) An inspector of a declared company may employ such persons as he considers necessary and in writing authorise any such person to do anything he could himself do, except to examine on oath or affirmation.
(2) Any officer or agent of a corporation who —
refuses or fails to produce any book or document to any person who produces a written authority of an inspector given pursuant to subsection (1); or
refuses or fails to answer any question lawfully put to him by any such person,
shall be liable to be dealt with in the same manner as is provided in section 236(5) for refusing or failing to comply with the request of an inspector.
[Aust., 1961, s. 173]
—(1) On and after the appointment of an inspector in respect of any declared company until the expiration of 3 months after the inspector has presented his final report to the Minister, no action or proceeding shall without the consent of the Minister (which may be given generally or in a particular case and which may be given subject to such conditions and limitations as he thinks fit) be commenced or proceeded with in any Court —
by the company upon or in respect of any contract, bill of exchange or promissory note; or
by the holder or any other person in respect of any bill of exchange or promissory note made, drawn or accepted by or issued, transferred, negotiated or endorsed by or to the company unless the holder or other person —
at the time of the negotiation, transfer, issue, endorsement or delivery thereof to him gave therefor adequate pecuniary consideration; and
was not at the time of the negotiation, transfer, issue, endorsement or delivery thereof to him or at any time within 3 years before that time a member, officer, agent or employee of the company or the wife or husband of any member, officer, agent or employee of the company.
(2) Any action or proceeding which is commenced or proceeded with in contravention of this section shall be void and of no effect.
[Aust., 1961, s. 174]
—(1) An application to the Court —
in the case of a company, for the winding up of the company; or
in the case of a foreign company, for the winding up so far as the assets of the company in Singapore are concerned of the affairs of the company,
may be made by the Minister at any time after a report has been made in respect of a declared company by an inspector whereupon the provisions of this Act shall with such adaptations as are necessary, apply as if —
in the case of a company, a winding up application had been duly made to the Court by the company; and
in the case of a foreign company, an application for an order for the affairs of the company so far as assets in Singapore are concerned to be wound up in Singapore had been duly made to the Court by a creditor or contributory of the company upon the liquidation of the company in the place in which it is incorporated.
(2) Where, in the case of a foreign company, on any application under subsection (1) an order is made for the affairs of the company so far as assets in Singapore are concerned to be wound up in Singapore the company shall not carry on business or establish or keep a place of business in Singapore.
[Aust., 1961, s. 180]
—(1) Any person who, with intent to defeat the purposes of this Part or to delay or obstruct the carrying out of an investigation under this Part —
destroys, conceals or alters any book, document or record of or relating to a declared company; or
sends or attempts to send or conspires with any other person to send out of Singapore any such book, document or record or any property of any description belonging to or in the disposition or under the control of such a company,
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.
(2) If in any prosecution for an offence under this section it is proved that the person charged with the offence —
has destroyed, concealed or altered any book, document or record of or relating to the company; or
has sent or attempted to send or conspired to send out of Singapore any book, document or record or any property of any description belonging to or in the disposition or under the control of the company,
the onus of proving that in so doing he had not acted with intent to defeat the purposes of this Part or to delay or obstruct the carrying out of an investigation under this Part shall lie on him.
[Aust., 1961, s. 179A]
—(1) Where it appears to the Minister that there is good reason to do so, he may appoint one or more inspectors to investigate and report on the membership of any corporation, whether or not it is a declared company, and otherwise with respect to the corporation for the purpose of determining the true persons who are or have been financially interested in the success or failure, real or apparent, of the corporation or able to control or materially to influence the policy of the corporation.
(2) The appointment of an inspector under this section may define the scope of his investigation, whether as respects the matters or the period to which it is to extend or otherwise, and in particular may limit the investigation to matters connected with particular shares or debentures.
(3) Where an application for an investigation under this section with respect to particular shares or debentures of a corporation is made to the Minister by members of the corporation, and the number of applicants or the amount of the shares held by them is not less than that required for an application for the appointment of an inspector under section 232, the Minister shall appoint an inspector to conduct the investigation unless he is satisfied that the application is vexatious, and the inspector’s appointment shall not exclude from the scope of his investigation any matter which the application seeks to have included therein, except in so far as the Minister is satisfied that it is unreasonable for that matter to be investigated.
(4) Subject to the terms of an inspector’s appointment, his powers shall extend to the investigation of any circumstances suggesting the existence of an arrangement or understanding which, though not legally binding, is or was observed or likely to be observed in practice and which is relevant to the purposes of his investigation.
(5) For the purposes of any investigation under this section, the provisions of this Part with respect to the investigation of declared companies shall apply with the necessary modifications of references to the affairs of the corporation or to those of any other corporation, but so that —
this Part shall apply in relation to all persons who are or have been, or whom the inspector has reasonable cause to believe to be or to have been financially interested in the success or failure or the apparent success or failure of the corporation or any other corporation the membership of which is investigated with that of the corporation, or able to control or materially to influence the policy thereof, including persons concerned only on behalf of others, as they apply in relation to officers and agents of the corporation or of the other corporation, as the case may be; and
the Minister shall not be bound to furnish the corporation or any other person with a copy of any report by an inspector appointed under this section or with a complete copy thereof if he is of opinion that there is good reason for not divulging the contents of the report or of parts thereof, but may, if he thinks fit, cause to be kept by the Registrar a copy of the report or, as the case may be, the parts of the report, as respects which he is not of that opinion.
[UK, 1948, s. 172; Aust., 1961, s. 177]
—(1) Where it appears to the Minister that there is good reason to investigate the ownership of any shares in or debentures of a corporation and that it is unnecessary to appoint an inspector for the purpose, he may require any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to have or to be able to obtain any information as to the present and past interests in those shares or debentures and the names and addresses of the persons interested and of any persons who act or have acted on their behalf in relation to the shares or debentures to give such information to the Minister.
(2) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to have an interest in a share or debenture if he has any right to acquire or dispose of the share or debenture or any interest therein or to vote in respect thereof, or if his consent is necessary for the exercise of any of the rights of other persons interested therein, or if other persons interested therein can be required or are accustomed to exercise their rights in accordance with his instructions.
(3) Any person who fails to give any information required of him under this section, or who in giving any such information makes any statement which he knows to be false in a material particular, or recklessly makes any statement which is false in a material particular, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
(4) This section shall apply to a banking corporation but nothing therein shall, subject to the provisions of the Banking Act (Cap. 19), require disclosure by a banking corporation to the Minister of any information as to the affairs of any of its customers other than the corporation of which it is the banker.
(5) The Minister may by notification in the Gazette delegate his powers under this section either generally or in any particular case to a committee of a securities exchange that has been approved by him under any written law relating to the securities industry or to any body, panel or committee that has been established to advise him on matters connected with the securities industry.
(6) A committee of a securities exchange or any body, panel or committee referred to in subsection (5) in the discharge of its powers under that subsection shall keep the Minister informed of any information obtained under this section.
(7) Notwithstanding any delegation of his powers under this section, the Minister may exercise any of the powers conferred upon him under this section.
—(1) Where in connection with an investigation under section 243 or 244 it appears to the Minister that there is difficulty in finding out the relevant facts about any shares, whether issued or to be issued, the Minister may by order published in the Gazette direct that the shares are until further order subject to the following restrictions:
that any transfer of those shares or any exercise of the right to acquire or dispose of those shares or in the case of unissued shares any transfer of the right to be issued therewith and any issue thereof, shall be void;
that no voting rights shall be exercisable in respect of those shares;
that no further shares shall be issued in right of those shares or in pursuance of any offer made to the holder thereof; and
that, except in a liquidation, no payment shall be made of any sums due from the company on those shares, whether in respect of capital or otherwise.
(2) Any order of the Minister directing that shares shall cease to be subject to the restrictions referred to in subsection (1) which is expressed to be made with a view to permitting a transfer of those shares may continue the application of subsection (1)(c) and (d), in relation to those shares, either in whole or in part, so far as those paragraphs relate to any right acquired or offer made before the transfer.
(3) Where any shares are for the time being subject to any restrictions referred to in subsection (1), any person who —
having knowledge that the shares are subject to any such restrictions, exercises or purports to exercise any right to dispose of those shares, or of any right to be issued with the shares;
votes in respect of those shares, whether as holder or proxy, or appoints a proxy to vote in respect thereof; or
being the holder of any of those shares, fails to notify the fact of their being subject to those restrictions to any person whom he does not know to be aware of that fact but does know to be entitled, apart from those restrictions, to vote in respect of those shares whether as holder or proxy,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
(4) Where shares in any company are issued in contravention of the restrictions imposed pursuant to subsection (1), the company and every officer of the company who is in default shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.
(5) A prosecution shall not be instituted under this section except with the consent of the Public Prosecutor.
(6) This section shall apply in relation to debentures as it applies in relation to shares.
[UK, 1948, s. 174; Aust., 1961, s. 179]
246. Where —
under a corresponding law of another country an inspector has been appointed to investigate the affairs of a corporation; and
the Minister is of the opinion that, in connection with that investigation, it is expedient that an investigation be made in Singapore,
the Minister may by notice declare that the inspector so appointed shall have the same powers and duties in Singapore in relation to the investigation as if the corporation were a declared company and the inspector had been appointed under section 231 and thereupon the inspector shall have those powers and duties.