Mr Sitoh Yih Pin asked the Minister for Social and Family Development with regard to investigations conducted by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) under the Mental Capacity Act, in each of the past three years (a) how many have been in relation to the conduct of donees and deputies and the way they exercised their powers; (b) what are the types of violations found and how many are there; and (c) what actions have been taken by the OPG against the errant donees and deputies.
From 2019 to 2021, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) received 46 reports alleging misconduct by donees and deputies in the exercise of their powers.
2 Of these 46 reports, about half (21) involved misunderstandings or disputes between the loved ones of the person under the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or deputyship, and the Public Guardian guided the parties to resolve their differences amicably or seek legal recourse if they were unable to do so.
3 For 11 cases, there was either insufficient evidence of abuse or the Public Guardian had no jurisdiction over the case as the donors had mental capacity. No further action was taken in these cases.
4 In seven cases, the Public Guardian found that the donees or deputies did not adhere to good practices in managing the property and affairs of the person under LPA or deputyship. The cases were placed under closer supervision by the Public Guardian, to ensure compliance with their responsibilities as donees or deputies.
5 In a small number of cases (4), the Public Guardian detected evidence of fraud or financial mismanagement. Of these four cases, one was referred to the police for criminal action to be taken, two cases involved the donee and/or deputy making restitution upon instruction from the Public Guardian, and in the remaining case, the Public Guardian successfully applied to the Court to revoke the appointment of the deputy.
6 Three cases are still under investigation.