Dirty Rotten Scoundrels-A Royal Warrant and Divine Sanction
“A dreadful thing is the love of money! It disables both eyes and ears, and makes men worse to deal with than a wild beast, allowing a man to consider neither conscience nor friendship nor fellowship nor salvation.” John Chrysostom- An Early Church Elder
MONEY LAUNDERING, TAX AVOIDANCE, THEFT AND CORRUPTION
Whilst Bersih, Hindraf and Christian churches continue to thrive under the humbug of being Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), foundations or charitable trusts, their conduct in money matters is far less noble, responsible or transparent than their stated noble objects.
The special status claimed by these groups exempts them from paying taxes largely because of their stated charitable purposes and objects. Yet the truth behind this claim is fallacy. They exploit their tax exempt status to engage in partisan politics, wholesale money laundering and misappropriation of public funds on a grand scale. Much of these funds diverted to the personal use of their leaders and to fund highly partisan political causes.
The registrar of societies in Malaysia appears to be willfully ignorant or selectively turning a blind eye to breaches of the law by these groups. The ongoing failure of these organizations to satisfy regulatory compliance to justify holding on to their special status is disturbing. The registrar’s silence and inaction in this regard is to say the least curious in the face of overwhelming evidence.
Churches like the Full Gospel Assemblies and City Harvest churches (Now joined by the Marthoma Church) flaunt their financial compliance breaches publicly. Joined to them are the pseudo political organizations like Bersih and Hindraf. Both Hindraf and Bersih have raised considerable sums of money from the public over time, yet failing to properly and transparently account for how that money was spent.
The City Harvest and Full Gospel Assemblies have laundered very large sums of money, totalling several tens of millions of dollars. Amongst their patrons are the very wealthy Chinese including parliamentarians who are anti government, anti Muslim.
CHURCHES NON COMPLIANCE AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
The Marthoma Church in Malaysia, which has joined the Roman Catholics today in berating and criticizing government, has emerged as another cavalier, unaccountable recipient of public money. Large amounts of it. In an arbitrary defiance of calls for an independent audit of its finances, the church in Malaysia dispatched its books to Kerala, India where at its head-quarters and in an arcane move, it sanitized those same accounts the church in Malaysia capriciously withheld from scrutiny in avoidance of its regulatory obligations.
Concerns about the church’s participation in Regime Change was brought to light when priests of the Marthoma church much like Catholic Bishop Bernard Paul were observed participating in the partisan politics of Regime Change at Bersih rallies.
It is widely believed that Bersih has been a beneficiary of the Marthoma and Catholic monies without laity sanction or knowledge. There has been growing concern amongst the faithful, that their contributions to their church had been diverted covertly to Bersih.
Public fundraising by churches and other like organizations without proper authority under law continues unabated. The Churches continue to unlawfully conceal the full extent of the sources and uses of public money according to sources from within (money laundering by definition).
The City Harvest and Full Gospel Assemblies churches are believed to have raised tens of millions of ringgit in contributions from their faithful, channelling these to private causes, to Bersih and assortment of opposition groups. There appears to have been a lack of regulatory oversight. Singapore for its part realizing the danger of churches in politics has cracked down hard on the City Harvest Churches, jailing its leaders. The registrar in Malaysia continues to ignore their breaches.
The siphoning of public money is not restricted to churches and clubs alone. Anwar Ibrahim for instance has been the recipient of large sums of money through third party ‘donors’ who have been conduits of funds passed on from heads of large corporations in Malaysia unbeknown to their shareholders.
There has and continues to be a group of serving and former government parliamentarians who are contributors to Anwar’s causes.
Evidence leaking from the 4 major international accounting firms confirms the trend.
ROYAL PATRONAGE AS LICENSE TO STEAL
What’s recently surfaced in the backwash of government’s pursuit of ‘rats in the ranks’, Bersih and other NGO’s, is evidence of massive fraud and misappropriation of funds from several institutions. These funds on analysis appear to have underpinned the economic viability of many opposition and NGO campaigns against government for over a decade. It doesn’t stop there.
The evidence also suggests that money from fraud and misappropriation of funds appears to have lined the pockets of officials and members of various associations and clubs as well. The evidence further points to an ingrained culture of dishonesty, misrepresentation and deceit in NGO’s and social clubs. Ironically these activities involve money laundering by and in favour of those groups demanding ‘greater transparency’ of government activity, ‘cleaner and fairer’ governance.
A short audit of two social clubs has unearthed evidence of failure to account for tens of millions of Ringgit siphoned out of their coffers and channelled into private causes in what appears to be systemic fraud over time.
POLITICAL SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE NEED FOR INDEPENDENT SCRUTINY
Bersih is known to have received over US$10,000,000 in various forms of funding (mainly from abroad) since its inception. There is yet to be an independent auditors report on the finances of the organization seeking “freer and fairer” (presumably also greater accountability) elections in Malaysia. Bersih itself appears content on being far from transparent.
In the face of growing allegations by dissident members alleging that Datuk Ambiga, Maria Chin Abdullah and certain lawyers have generously helped themselves to significant amounts of their money, Bersih continues to resist calls for transparency and an independent audit of is finances.
In 2007 it was widely reported and confirmed by Hindraf that they raised over MYR$750,000 at the time of the Hindraf demonstrations that rocked KL in November of that year. That sum later swelled to over MYR$2,500,000 when Waythamurthi and his brothers were subsequently arrested.
Waytha absconded and sought refuge in the UK. He jet setted through Europe and to other countries riding high on the hog whilst his followers languished in Sungei Buloh prison. He later cut a deal with government allowing him to return to Malaysia to contest a safe seat in parliament. None of the money raised in 2007 or subsequently has been properly accounted for.
THE CLUB CULTURE-SOCIO POLITICAL INCUBATORS AND A HAND IN THE TILL
Allegations of missing money, ‘fixing the books’, misappropriation of funds and corruption at an industrial scale at the Royal Lake Gardens Club and the Royal Selangor Club have been circulating for several years. But these allegations appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Strangely those self-appointed guardians of public morality, those “journalists” otherwise ready to hang the government without proper cause have ignored the matter.
Over $6,000,000 (six million Ringgit) and possibly more is believed to have “vanished” disguised in “disbursements, payments for services, and bloated expenses including travel and lodging” benefiting a few over a period of time from the two clubs.
A recent covert audit has uncovered massive financial impropriety in the two clubs spanning a period of at least five years . There appears to be no legal or accounting basis for the offending transactions resulting in deficits in the finances of the two clubs. In short the allegations are that there has been fraud and misappropriation -or failure to properly account- of monies belonging to members of each of these clubs.
A small but significant example of the kind of rorts that have gone unchecked in these is to be found in an invoice leaked from the Lake Gardens Club recently:
A payment of MYR300,000 made for the provision of legal services to the club was improperly invoiced. In a twist of irony the lawyer’s services were procured to, suing employees and defending actions brought by labour unions against it, to threatening members with law suits without just causes of action. In short the lawyer was engaged as a firewall against scrutiny.
This is but the mere tip of a very large iceberg as a covert audit of the Royal Selangor Club’s finances also reveals. Pilferage has been rampant in these clubs. Diversion of club property appears to be endemic .
In other examples of rorting, ‘letters of comfort’ were issued to service providers and to financial services organizations (credit card and personal loan) signed by individuals without authority on behalf of the club to secure personal benefits without proper procedures, disclosures or approval being first obtained.
An independent covert audit reveals a consequential deficit of nearly $2,500,000 concealed in previous accounting periods. The situation at the Royal Selangor Club appears to be far more serious than first thought. At the Royal Selangor Club there has been a long history of ‘dipping into the till’ to meet the extravagance and lifestyles of members of the past boards and their friends some of who remain at the club.
The practice has been overt, unrelenting and protected by a coterie of members of previous boards.
The club whose ranks include former and serving judges, journalists, corporate titans has failed to prosecute or properly investigate these matters inspite of the evidence.
No one, not the Club’s board, its auditors nor the registrar of societies has yet been game enough to probe what is evidently a scandal of Titanic proportions going to the very heart of the honour and dignity of the club and its 100 year reputation.
For a Club that reports a turnover of several tens of millions of dollars annually and a balance sheet measured in 10 figures there seems to be little in the form of accountability, financial or regulatory control or compliance with the law (perhaps because some members feel that they are above the law). And it seems that some of those missing funds could well have been diverted to the causes of political organizations including PKR and Bersih.
SILENCE NOT AN OPTION
For a government seemingly under siege for its “lack of financial prudence, probity and integrity” silence can no longer be an option in these matters. The public has a right to demand that every association, social, religious or political disguised in any manner or form must subject themselves to frequent compulsory, independent, external audits.
ROYAL PATRONAGE AND A ROYAL WARRANT
The bestowing of Royal Patronage or a Royal Warrant on an institution demands a higher standard of probity in all matters. Both The Royal Selangor and The Royal Lake Club are holders of Royal Warrants.