Methodist Book Room (MBR) Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) Case (3)
The Executive Board met on 26/4/2017 and during the meeting, MBR reported the following:-
1. After an internal inquiry, MBR found that the suspected staff had siphoned off the money by various methods, including falsifying documents and cheque signatures; she took advantage of the trust placed upon her for her long service and position. She took everybody in MBR by surprise.
2. After MBR lodged a police report on 14/2/2017, their Commercial Crime Division had called up the Chairman, Treasurer and Manager of MBR a few times to record statements. They took away relevant documents for investigation and preparing to charge the staff concerned in court.
3. The Police also asked for a special report to be certified by a licensed auditor. This was in progress.
On the accountability of MBR on this issue, the services of the staff involved and her accomplice have been terminated and they have to face the consequence as the law takes its own course. MBR Board of Management has no desire to put the blame on any other individual. They would rather shoulder the responsibility and offer to resign en bloc as soon as the police have brought charges against the two staff involved. However, the Board would continue to support the police case, if required.
As for the Manager Ms Ling, the Board of Management recognised her hard work in MBR for the last 30 over years, rising from an accounts clerk to the post of Manager and helping to achieve what MBR is today. She had been busy with daily routine and expansion of MBR and regretted that she over trusted the two old colleagues of hers. She felt very sorry that MBR suffered a big loss in this incident. She would relinquish her post at a suitable time.
MBR suggested that the Conference should have a proper written Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) because the SOP set up by various resolutions of the Board was not in one complete document and thus not strictly put in practice.
The Executive Board accepted the report by MBR. However, a deadline was set for the en bloc resignation of members of Board of Management and that would be before the Annual Conference meets this year
A subcommittee on SOP had been formed and a SOP had also been drafted. Methodist Book Room and all local churches and bodies are requested to adopt it.
The drawing up of a SOP should be taken as improvement of transparency and accountability and not taken as a sign of distrust and suspicion. It can also be viewed as an act of love for your fellow Christians to help them from falling into temptation.
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.” (1 Cor 10:11-12)
Our plan to rebuild our headquarters along Island Road has been approved by the Government. The new six-storey building will sit on the original site of Foo Yin Building (Methodist Book Room at ground floor) and two adjacent shops (owned by Methodist Women).
During its meeting on 26/4/2017, the Executive Board decided to proceed with this plan. The Architect will amend the plan as stipulated by the Government and also start to liaise with various authorities. By the next meeting of the Executive Board in July, the overall situation will be clearer and a realistic schedule will be in place for the whole project. By then the updated perspective view of our new headquarters will be released.
As for the previous site at Aman Road, it will be filled and surcharged in stages, in preparation for other usage.