The oldest Hindu temple in Singapore is currently under investigation, and nobody but the authorities seems to know exactly what kind of crime has been committed there.
Singapore's Commissioner of Charities (COC) on Tuesday announced that the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple — which was established in 1976 and obtained charity status in 1988 — was being probed, and some hint of what had gone wrong might lie in its statement.
What is known so far is that the probe has been initiated under Section 8 of the Charities Act of Singapore, which simply deals with the initiation of a probe against charities, and what can happen if someone tries to impede the probe in any way.
'Certain areas of concern'
The COC, which functions under Singapore's Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, said in a statement released on Tuesday, August 22: "The Commissioner of Charities (COC) has instituted an inquiry into the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (SVT) under section 8 of the Charities Act."
It said: "The COC received feedback on the management of SVT, which led to the COC carrying out a review of the Temple. The review identified certain areas of concern with regard to governance and administration, which warrant conducting an inquiry."
It went on to add: "The COC has therefore decided to institute an inquiry into SVT before deciding on the next course of action."
The statement also said: "Notwithstanding the inquiry, SVT can continue with its operations and daily services. The COC, with the assistance of the Hindu Endowments Board, will put in place measures to ensure that SVT is properly managed and its religious activities will not be affected during the inquiry."
Monetary crimes suspected?
There is no official word on the exact nature of the crime for which the SVT is under the COC's scanner. However, certain clues seem to point to monetary crimes like embezzlement or fraud being at the center of the probe.
For example, the COC statement says that the investigation was due to "certain areas of concern with regard to governance and administration." The statement also says: "The Office of the COC has been notified by the Commercial Affairs Department that it is investigating SVT for suspected criminal offenses."
If the Commercial Affairs Department is now in the mix, some monetary irregularities must be involved. And monetary crimes pertaining to charities generally limit themselves to embezzlement and fraud.