Charities watchdog removes Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple chairman over 'severe mismanagement'

Charities watchdog removes Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple chairman over 'severe mismanagement'

Sri Veeramakaliamman temple Google Street View
The Sri Veeramakaliamman temple in Little India (Image: Google Street View)

SINGAPORE: The Commissioner of Charities (COC) on Monday (Aug 6) ordered the removal of chairman and trustee of Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, Sivakadacham, from his office with immediate effect.

Sivakadacham has also been disqualified from acting in any capacity as a governing board member, trustee, or key officer in any charity in the future.

In a press statement, the COC said the decision was made after careful consideration, following the findings of an inquiry into allegations of "severe mismanagement" in the administration of the temple in Little India.

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On Aug 22, 2017, the COC instituted an inquiry into the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.

The inquiry revealed severe mismanagement in the administration of the temple, primarily during the period from Jan 1, 2011 to Jul 31, 2014, by certain management committee members.

These members were the cheque signatories and approvers for payments, one of whom was Sivakadacham, who was the treasurer. He was subsequently appointed as the chairman of the charity on Nov 20, 2016.

Given the severity of the inquiry findings, on Apr 30, 2018 and with the consent of the Attorney-General, the COC suspended Sivakadacham from the exercise of his office as governing board member and trustee of the charity with immediate effect.

The COC also gave notice of its intention to remove Sivakadacham from the exercise of his office as a governing board member and trustee of the charity, and invited representations on the COC’s proposal.

The decision on a removal order against Sivakadacham came after careful consideration of the inquiry’s findings and all representations received.

The COC added that it was satisfied that there was mismanagement in the administration of the charity for which Sivakadacham was responsible for or privy to, or have by his conduct contributed to or facilitated.

The COC then deemed it necessary to act for the purpose of protecting the property of the charity.

The COC, Dr Ang Hak Seng, said: “Any negative conduct within the charity sector can bring about serious damage and erode public trust in our charities. Hence, we cannot tolerate mismanagement or misconduct in the administration of charities.

“Governing board members and key office holders should always act in the best interest of the charities, and be accountable to the public. As stewards of charitable resources, they have a duty to ensure that their charity is well governed and operates responsibly, so that it can continue to be effective and credible in fulfilling its charitable mission. I urge all charities to learn from this episode, and strengthen their board governance and internal controls.”

Source: CNA/zl(mn)