Singapore

Iconic Hindu temple under criminal probe

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple committee has not submitted financial statement since FY13-14


The Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, one of Singapore's oldest Hindu temples, is now the subject of a criminal inquiry by commercial crime busters.

The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the Commissioner of Charities (COC) is looking into the way the Serangoon Road temple is being run.

The COC said yesterday its inquiry comes on the back of a review it conducted, after receiving "feedback".

The review had identified "certain areas of concern with regard to governance and administration", which warranted an inquiry, it said.

It added that it had been notified by the CAD that the department was investigating the temple for "suspected criminal offences".

It said it is working closely with the Hindu Endowments Board and the temple's governing board members to ensure religious activities are not affected and the temple can continue with its daily services.

The temple was built in 1855 by Indian pioneers and became a landmark in the Little India area. It attracts up to 5,000 devotees on Sundays.

It obtained charity status in 1988 and in 2014, it reopened after two years of renovation.

According to the COC, the temple's management committee comprised seven individuals, four of whom are trustees, as of Nov 20 last year.

The COC's charity portal also indicated that the last time the temple's committee submitted its financial statement was for the financial year July 2013 to June 2014.

Charities are required to submit statements of accounts every year, within six months from the end of the financial year.

Devotees said they did not know about the investigation and were surprised by the news.

A devotee, Ms S. Chelvi, 51, who works at Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore, said: "I am disappointed this happened. Transparency is important."

TempleSerangoonURBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (URA)