1. Once it has been ascertained that a matter has satisfied Part A, ACRA will commence investigations.

Powers of investigations

  1. Duly authorised ACRA officers have the power under the ACRA Act to:
    1. require any person whom he reasonably believes to have committed that offence to furnish evidence of the person’s identity;
    2. require any person to furnish any information or produce any book, document or copy thereof in the possession of that person, and may, without fee or reward, inspect, make copies of or take extracts from such book or document;
    3. require, by order in writing, the attendance before the officer or employee of any person within the limits of Singapore who, from any information given or otherwise obtained by the officer or employee, appears to be acquainted with the circumstances of the case;
    4. examine orally any person reasonably believed to be acquainted with the facts or circumstances of the case or with such other matter as the officer or employee may specify, and reduce into writing the answer given or statement made by that person;
    5. take such photographs or video recording, as the officer or employee thinks necessary, of the premises in which or in connection with which he reasonably believes an offence has been committed and persons reasonably believed to be acquainted with the facts or circumstances of the case or with such other matter as the officer or employee may specify; and,
    6. require the owner or occupier of any premises in which or in connection with which the officer or employee of the Authority reasonably believes an offence has been committed to give the officer or employee access to such premises without charge for the purpose of investigating that offence.

Investigation timelines 

  1. ACRA will send the complainant an acknowledgement  when a complaint is received. Thereafter, updates will be provided at appropriate junctures. The ability to provide updates will depend on the information and evidence that have been gathered, the complexity of the case, caseload and other relevant factors.  
  2. It is important for complainants to note that while some complaints may appear straightforward and easy to investigate, it may not always the case. At times, individuals who are material to these matters cannot be found or are not even within jurisdiction and these greatly impede our ability to investigate further.

Post-Investigation

  1. After investigations have been completed, ACRA has the discretion to:
    1. request a person to rectify a matter;
    2. issue an advisory against a person;  
    3. issue a warning to a person;  
    4. allow a person to compound for a breach;   
    5. refuse to allow composition and to prosecute the person in court; or
    6. utilise any other regulatory tool available or
    7. take no further action.    
  2. Other regulatory tools that ACRA can utilise include:
    1. striking off - If a company has persistently failed to hold its Annual General Meeting or failed to file its AR, has an outdated registered business address or does not respond to ACRA’s letters, these may be considered reasonable causes for ACRA to believe that the company is not in operation or not carrying on business and ACRA may then initiate striking off action to strike off the company from its register.
    2. disqualification - In 2016, ACRA introduced a new enforcement power whereby a director who has at least 3 of his companies struck off by ACRA within a period of 5 years will be disqualified from acting as director or to take part in the management of any company for a period of 5 years from the date after the third company is struck off.
    3. debarment order - In 2016, ACRA introduced a new enforcement power whereby a director or company secretary who is in default of a relevant requirement in the Companies Act may face a debarment order from the Registrar preventing him from taking on new appointments as director or company secretary of other companies.
  3. Complainants need to understand that it is within the discretion of ACRA whether to take enforcement action or to take no further action. ACRA will consider each case independently, fairly and consistently before reaching a decision.
  4. In deciding whether to prosecute an offender ACRA takes into account the following:
    1. the sufficiency of evidence gathered; and
    2. whether other regulatory tools will be more appropriate.  For example - first time offenders may be offered a chance to attend a training programme in lieu of facing enforcement and prosecution (For example, those who failed to hold Annual General Meeting and file Annual Return timely may be asked to attend the Director’s Compliance Programme)
  5. If indeed the decision taken is to prosecute the offender in court, ACRA will also consider if the offence is premeditated, prevalent and/or if the offender is a repeat offender before deciding whether to press for a deterrent sentence.
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