SGX queries Cordlife on how it assesed Goh Jin Hian’s suitability to stay on as chairman

SINGAPORE – Cordlife Group responded on Monday morning (Oct 5) to a query from the Singapore Exchange on its announcement last week that its chairman and independent director Dr Goh Jin Hian is able to fulfil his duty to the company despite being under police probe.

A separate mainboard-listed company, New Silkroutes Group, had announced on Sept 30 that Dr Goh, who was then still its CEO, and finance director William Teo are assisting the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) with investigations.

CAD is looking into a possible offence under the Securities and Futures Act, believed to involve false trading and market rigging in past share buybacks and stock purchases.

The passports of Dr Goh, the son of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, and Mr Teo have been retained by the CAD, although they both have not been arrested or charged.

In its query, SGX noted that listing rules require a company to, among others, consider the character and integrity of directors and management. It asked how Cordlife’s board and nominating committee assessed the suitability of Dr Goh remaining as chairman and independent director.

The Cordlife board noted in its response that no arrests or charges have been made and no bail has been required to be posted for any persons that are assisting with the CAD investigations.

It also said that Dr Goh “has always displayed a high level of professionalism, integrity and strong leadership in his conduct during board discussions and meetings” and that the company “has benefited from Dr Goh’s strong guidance and leadership in his years of service”.

The Cordlife board said that for these reasons, and based on information available as of its Oct 2 announcement, it “had formed the view that there is nothing at this juncture to indicate that Dr Goh’s ability to oversee and manage the affairs of the company” would be compromised as a result of the ongoing CAD probe. It would be in the best interests of the company for him to presently continue with his roles and responsibilities, it added.

It reiterated that Cordlife’s nominating committee and board will continue to evaluate the suitability of Dr Goh’s service based on the progress of the CAD investigations, and will make the relevant announcements as and when appropriate, in compliance with listing rules.

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