Pokka suing ex-CEO Alain Ong for S$6.51 million in losses

Pokka also accused him of erasing "evidence" from his phone.

Kayla Wong | August 28, 2019, 07:36 PM

Pokka is launching a lawsuit against its former CEO Alain Ong.

According to Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao, the lawsuit involves supposed illegal dealings between Ong and Kimly Limited, as well as Asian Story Corporation.

Kimly, one of the largest coffee shop operators in Singapore, recently acquired Asian Story in July 2018.

Ong, the husband of ex-Pokka ambassador Vivian Lai, was previously suspended in September 2018 in the wake of an internal audit.

He and seven other employees in management positions were ordered not to step into the company.

Thereafter, Pokka terminated its contract with Lai, ending their 10-year working relationship.

Ong allegedly cost Pokka S$6.51million in losses

Citing court documents, Zaobao reported that the 44-year-old Ong was behind the listing of Kimly on SGX, as well as the acquisition of Asian Story.

Ong's actions, which have violated the Securities and Futures Act, have apparently cost Pokka a loss of at least S$6.51million, which the company is suing Ong for.

Pokka Corporation (Singapore) and Pokka International entered the courtroom last month, and the case is currently in the pre-trial conference stage.

Boosted sales of Asian Story products using Pokka's resources

Ong also allegedly artificially inflated the value of Asian Story, and at the same time, secretly made use of Pokka's resources to turn the firm into one that produces as many as 27 different types of beverages.

He had allegedly done this with four other Pokka employees.

By entering into a manufacturing agreement with Asian Story, which only had one employee at that time, Pokka accused Ong of damaging the company's interests.

Thereafter, Ong was accused of "strongly promoting" Asian Story's beverages with the intention of raising the firm's value, so as to pave the way for Kimly's acquisition.

He allegedly boosted the sales of Asian Story products by giving away free Pokka beverages, as well as incentivising Pokka workers to sell more Asian Story products.

He had also allegedly kept these activities a secret from Pokka, and had not disclosed his relationship with Kimly, as well as the personal gains he had obtained from Kimly.

Allegedly erased "evidence" in phone

After being ordered to leave the company, Ong was accused of erasing the "evidence" in his phone under the guise of contacting his sickly father, as well as his wife.

Citing a letter of claim by Pokka, Zaobao reported that it was later discovered he had deleted the text messages in his phone.

The next day, Ong had allegedly asked to use his phone again.

He was accused of deleting the WhatsApp app on the phone at that time.

However, Ong had defended himself by saying he had "accidentally" deleted the app while he was putting the phone into his pocket.

Ong lives with Lai, their two children, and their two domestic helpers in a S$8million three-storey house.

Top image adapted via Pokka