There seems to be many parallels between the latest Youth Challenge scandal and NKF. Wonder how they end up with the same wrong ideas:
1. High Salaries. The CEOs of these charities who are suppose to serve the public seem to think it is alright to pay themselves hundreds of thousands of $ per year. The Youth Challenge CEO was paid a total of $243K last year and Durai $600K. There is this widespread belief that high pay = high performance in Singapore, maybe these charity heads just wanted to improve their own performance by paying themselves more.
2. No Check & Balance. Once in power these charity heads got rid of all check and balance in their organisations so they have free rein without anyone opposing them.
3. Milking the people they were suppose to serve. Durai seems to have no qualms about exploiting the kidney patients using them to extract sympathy from the public...charging them higher than necessary fees etc.
These charities operated for years without problems being detected.......in fact they regularly won alot praise for their activities.
Youth Challenge found lacking in transparency, corporate governance
January 2007 1626 hrs
SINGAPORE : Local charity Youth Challenge has been found to have many irregularities and lacking in governance, management and financial controls. The Commissioner of Charities, which comes under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, revealed this after completing an inquiry on the organisation, following a complaint last year. The probe on Youth Challenge started in August last year after some students blew the whistle on its practices. The COC investigation revealed the organisation lacked transparency and had been giving
misleading information on the remuneration of its Executive President Vincent Lam.
The key findings - Lam's total annual remuneration of $248,867 which ended last year, was more than half of total donations and other income earned by the charity. The COC said Lam was paid various benefits and allowances, well above civil service and charity sector norms. No system of annual performance evaluation was in place. Youth Challenge also allowed blank cheques to be pre-signed by signatories. Also of grave concern was the fact that Lam was able to transact electronic payments, including his salary, without a second level of approval. Lam has resigned from his post on Monday. And now, operations at the Youth Challenge are continuing as normal. But in a statement, the Youth Challenge President Looi Teck Kheong said all humanitarian programmes will proceed as planned. The new management committee, which has been running the charity since October last year, notes that the inquiry results reveal no misappropriation of public funds. It says it values the COC's inputs and will implement the necessary changes and recommendations.
The COC has given the committee six months to rectify breaches and weaknesses in the governance and management of the charity. In reply to queries from Channel NewsAsia, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore says it will review the past income tax declarations of Vincent Lam after it receives details of his income, benefits and allowances from the COC. If Lam had under-declared or filed an incorrect tax return, appropriate action will be taken against him under the Income Tax Act. If convicted, he faces a penalty of up to twice the amount of tax undercharged, a fine or jail term. - CNA /ls