Board Members of Singapore Temple Suspended Over ‘Severe Mismanagement’

The chairman and, trustee of the charity and secretary of the management committee of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Singapore were removed following probe.


Key board members of the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Singapore have been barred after the Charities Commissioner found “severe mismanagement” following an eight-month investigation into the Hindu temple’s finances.

Sivakadacham, the current chairman of the temple board, was suspended with immediate effect, according to the Straits Times. The Commercial Affairs Department is also probing the temple’s finances to check for criminal offences.

According to the finding out the commission of charities (COC), R. Selvaraju, the chairman of the charity’s management committee from Dec.26, 2011 to Nov. 19, 2016, Sivakadacham, and Ratha Krishnan Selvakumar, the charity’s trustee and secretary of the management committee from December 2011 to present, showed that “severe lack of prudence and care” by the three key office bearers put large amounts of money at undue risk during January 2011 and July 2014, the Independent Singapore reported.

The temple, built in 1855, is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore, and a landmark in the Little India area.

Selvakumar is also being removed from his position. He has a history of criminal convictions involving dishonesty that disqualified him from holding office, the statement from the COC said.

Between January 2011 and July 2014, the temple issued at least 823 uncrossed cheques of over $1.5 million, including 45 cheques worth over $227,000 that were given to people who were not the intended recipients.

Selvakumar had obtained loans of $350,000 without the management committee’s approval and without written loan agreements with the lenders. The loan was meant to give tokens of appreciation to those who helped at the temple’s consecration ceremony.

The commissioner said: “There was limited supporting evidence to substantiate that cash proceeds from these loans were disbursed to all of the intended recipients. These cash loans and disbursement of proceeds from the loans were also not properly accounted for in the charity’s accounting records.”

Many payments at the temple, exceeding $500,000, were done without adequate documents.

The commissioner said that the charities watchdog will not hesitate to take action against former chairman of the temple board, R. Selvaraju, if he resumes any office in the temple.

Shekaran K Krishnan, a partner at Ernst & Young, Raman Rajakanth, executive director of Rainbow Across Borders and Baskaran Ambikapathy, a financial controller, were appointed to the temple board for better internal controls.

The Hindu Endowments Board has agreed to assist the temple to put in place proper governance and internal controls. “We seek the community’s understanding, support and cooperation during this period of time,” its spokesman was quoted as saying by the Straits Times.

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