- With the latest release of NKF audit report, peering beyond all the smokes and mirrors fanned by the army of PAP controlled auditors and newspapers, oneMessage 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2005View Source
With the latest release of NKF audit report, peering beyond all the smokes and mirrors fanned by the army of PAP controlled auditors and newspapers, one wonders what happened to the real crooks i.e. the rest of the NKF Board.
Is it so easy to escape resonsibility and accountability just by resigning? Remember that Durai was only the cog in the wheel. Everything Durai did he did so with the approval of this corrupt NKF Board.
The PAP is anxious to sweep everything under the carpet and contain the backlash and inquiries. Lets not forget so easily......lets continue to probe and ask questions.;
13 July 2005
The Board Behind The NKF Scam
NKF CEO TT Durai is a mere cog in the wheel and a "fall" guy. Whilst his conduct may have been unconscionable, those of the Board of Members of the NKF are even more unconscionable.
It was the Board of Members who were well aware of the ongoing atrocities which occurred on a daily basis and it was these same bunch of greedy bureucrats who endorsed years of deception and mismanagement of donor funds.
Can million dollar ministers and policy makers ever relate to the plight of the average man on the street? Apparently not when NKF patron and wife of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong passed the cavalier remark that Durai's SGD600,000/- salary was "peanuts".
Of cause Mrs Goh was making comparison to the humongous stellar million dollar salaries which her own husband draws (also out of public funds).
Even as the average Singaporean is struggling to make ends meet and put away sufficient savings for retirement, the NKF has stashed away reserves totalling well over SGD200 million which is sufficient to sustain in for 30-40 years. And even then, this is still not enough as greed begets even more greed and the "charity" continued to accumulate more and more reserves. How much is enough?
The truth of the matter is that there is little difference between the conduct and moral values of Mr Durai, and those of Singapore's million dollar cabinet ministers.
For a better glimpse of the highly paid bureucrats who ochestrated the NKF scam, we append below the Board Of Members of the NKF Committee;
NKF BOARD MEMBERS:
Mrs Goh Chok Tong
Golden Hearts Fund for Elderly
Mr Jacky Cheung
Immediate Past Chairman
Dr Khoo Oon Teik
Mr Richard Yong
Mr Richard Yong
Mr Shaw Vee Meng
The Shaw Foundation
Associate Prof. Lawrence Chia
Director, Special Projects,
National University of Singapore
Mr T T Durai
Mr Alwyn Lim
Certified Public Accountant
Mr Loo Say San
Ms Lee Seok Tin
Mr T T Durai
Dr Koh Eng Kheng
Chung Kiaw Clinic
Mr Loo Say San
Vigers International Property Consultants (S) Pte Ltd
Mr Tan Tock San
Golden Shoe Holdings Pte Ltd
Assistant Honorary Treasurer
Mr Kweh Soon Han
Partner, Kweh Loy & Lee
Mrs Cecilia Wee Chong Jin
Mr Chow Kok Fong
Equitas Corporation Pte Ltd
Dr. Kyoshi Kurokawa
Director and Professor
Institute of Medical Science, Tokai University
Mr William Teh
Senior Vice President
Pontiac Pte Ltd
Dr. Gerard Chuah
Senior Consultant Eye Surgeon
Total EyeCare Centre
Visiting Consultant to the Eye Institute, National Healthcare Group
Dr Andrew G K Chew
Ms Matilda Chua
COO, Global Net Relations Pte Ltd
Dr Ronald Ling
Schroder Capital Partners (Asia) Pte Ltd
Mr Alwyn Lim
Certified Public Accountant
Dr John Hoe Wei Ming
Medi-Rad Associates Ltd
Mr Goh Chien Cheng
Sassoon Financial Futures Pte Ltd
Mr Chew Loy Kiat
Aon Reinsurance Brokers Asia Pte Ltd
Mr Loo Say San
Vigers International Property Consultants (S) Pte Ltd
Mr Alan Goei, CFS
Deputy Chairman and Executive Vice-President
Mr Richard Yong
9 SEP 2005
PLEASE, PLEASE, JOIN MY BOARD ...
Wonder about the quality of board members at charity organisations?
Here's the rub
WHEN former National Kidney Foundation chief executive T T Durai was asked
about his 12-month bonuses during the recent court case, his explanation
was simple: The NKF board had authorised them.
Ditto for his first-class travel. And when he was asked about the fees he
was earning outside the NKF, which was not disclosed either to the public
or to the NKF, Mr Durai replied: "That is correct. The NKF board gave me
the liberty to do so."
The board continued to support Mr Durai and eventually stepped down after
his departure. It was replaced by some of the most qualified professionals
in the business in an effort to revive NKF's lost shine.
But for Singapore's 300-odd other voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs),
some questions remain.
If the boards of charities shape their policies and safeguard their money,
then who chooses these board members? And how qualified are they? The
answers are not very comforting.
Mr Gerard Ee, the president of the National Council of Social Service
(NCSS) told Today: "A big majority of organisations, especially the
smaller-sized ones, struggle in getting good people to join the board.
This is a problem. The level of board governance varies."
Former chairman of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)
Willie Cheng added: "Some board directors don't recognise the seriousness
of their roles and see it as another volunteering activity."
Senior VWO staff, who report to their boards, were reluctant to discuss
the topic. But speaking on condition of anonymity, many of them made the
same worrying points: Most had worked with board members who were not very
good at their jobs.
The process of selecting people to sit on the board was not rigorous
enough as there were very few takers to start with. After all, board
members are not paid.
Said one executive director: "There are not enough people who want to
serve in my VWO, so the same people get re-elected."
He said that in one election, there were more vacancies on the board than
candidates, and the candidates were all existing board members who had
served more than five terms each. In many cases, people actually had to be
persuaded to sit on boards.
"You identify certain people with talent or expertise to contribute, then
arrange to meet them for tea to enthuse them to join.
"It's nothing formal, not like a job interview," said Mr Aaron Ng,
executive director of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of
The VWOs cannot afford to be too fussy either. "If an organisation has a
lot of criteria and makes the gate so narrow, it may end up with no board
For instance, many VWOs do not set minimum educational criteria, but
require board members to hold a permanent job and not have criminal
records. For some, all it takes to qualify for board election is to pay
the membership fees on time.
Some VWOs dealing with disabilities require boards to include parents of
beneficiaries. And some parents joined these boards to "demand certain
things be done for their kids" said one executive director.
Another told of how board membership was an ego trip for some candidates -
and a game of Russian roulette for the VWO.
"You're my friend and it's a glory to be a board member. So you lobby, get
some votes and elect me, lah," she said.
"Sometimes these friends are good, sometimes they are not."
When these "friends" are not good, the organisation suffers.
Said one veteran in the charity field: "They want nothing done without
their approval and they will not approve the things that they are not
Given the enormous responsibility of the board, shouldn't there be more
"How to? It makes sense to do this in theory, but don't forget, this is a
VWO. People who are coming here are volunteers and don't take a cent,"
said executive director of the Singapore Association for the Deaf Jenny
Is the solution, then, to pay VWO directors? Said Mr Cheng: "I think no
amount of money can make them take their jobs seriously? The moment they
choose to be serious, they will be serious."
So how can thing be improved? Should the Government do something about it?
Mr Cheng said: "Singaporeans have this mindset for the Government to solve
all their problems. But this is contrary to what this civic sector is
about. The public, especially donors, should be the ones to make that
demand for better board governance."
Till then, some VWOs may have to put up with indifferent boards.
For related discussions see:
1) Mellanie Hewlitt; Lifting The Veil On Singapore Politics
2) Carl Kapeland: Legitimized Corruption Understood
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Singapore Review : Legitimized Corruption Understood
Other articles of Interest to Singapore
Singapore's view of Press Freedom by Erwan Shah Bin Abdullah @ Wolfgang Holzem
From: Carl Kapeland
To: Mellanie Hewlitt
Singapore Review - Legitimized Corruption Understood
In the latest developments the entire National Kidney Foundation Board of Singapore and its CEO have taken the easy route out and resigned. That's leadership for you, when things get messy, just get up and leave the mess for someone else to clean up.
But I don't think the new CEO or Board will do much cleaning up. Looks like they are replacing one bunch of rotten apples with another bunch of potentially more rotten apples. It does not address the real problem.
WHAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM?
There are several recurrent issues here. Singapore is in this current mess because Lee's PAP Government has forgotten that not everything can be reduced to money. You cannot throw money at all your problems and expect it to magically disappear.
The material base that motivates Singapore's "leaders" is only too evident when the NKF's transit CEO (Gerald Ee) hinted that "SGD600,000/- may not be sufficient for the new replacement to take office"!!! Money is the only motivating factor and if they have elected a leader and a board who is motivated only by money, its only
a natural and unavoidable result that they will end up with an organization which has forgotten its once noble purpose and replaced it with more materialistic pursuits.
Have they (Singapore) appointed a Wolf in sheep's clothing to guard their precious flock? For positions like these in charity organizations, THE CHIEF MOTIVATING FACTOR CANNOT BE MONEY! as they are not running an investment bank.
The same applies senior public service positions and for ministerial positions. NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE REDUCED TO MONEY. But Lee's PAP Ministers have used this holistic approach to address any and all issues under the sun.
Lee and his ministers simply CANNOT RUN A COUNTRY THE SAME WAY THEY RUN A COMPANY. Why? Because a country comprises of flesh and blood and spirit. A company is merely a corporate vehicle that is often set-up for the sole purpose of reaping a monetary profit.
SINGAPORE AS A COUNTRY, IS NOT SINGAPORE INC!!!! And even if it is, its directors (and that means Lee and his million dollar cabinet) have to remain accountable to the shareholders (Singapore citizens). Singapore MINISTERS have to be transparent, and they are not especially as regards their salaries and the management of the country's reserves.
Consider this, the NKF was originally set up as a supposedly charitable organization. In form and function it appeared above board and reputable. But in actual practice it had a hidden agenda to siphon wealth from the public into state coffers. And what happens to all this money (all SGD200 million of it?) No body knows.
These same similarities in the NKF saga are reproduced on a grander scale in overall state administration in Singapore. Whether its the CPF, LTA, GLCs, Temasek etc they all relate to the the same basic issue. It goes back to the same bunch of corrupt leaders paying themselves and their cronies humongous rediculous salaries, approved
and legitimized under a set of bogus laws that they legislated in the first place.
But even before this NKF scam, transparency issues have dogged Singapore's state administration for decades and repeated requests by the World Bank, IMF, FTA and other NGOs for greater accountability and transparency have basically fallen on deaf ears.
These are basic transparency issues which plaque management of public moneys by all state entities (whether its the CPF Board, GLCs, Temasek, LTA etc). There is massive deception on a grand scale and I suspect the latest NKF debacle only surfaced due to internal friction within Singapore's "inner-circle of elite politicians." Perhaps
someone amongst Singapore's Ruling Elite wanted a bigger portion of the loot.
Think about it. Durai commenced his latest law suite on the confident assumption that it would be a "no contest" walk-over like his two previous suites. But whilst the Singapore sham courts had no problems finding in his favor in the 2 previous suites (which were taken against private individuals and a volunteer who correctly questioned his lavish spending), the latest suite was against another state bureaucracy.
And it was inevitable that the sham court found in favor of the bigger devil. So even amongst the thieves there is a power struggle over who gets a bigger piece of the loot.
So this then is justice ala Singapore styled. Who you are and who you are connected with ultimately decides the outcome of the law suite.
The material facts of the case (and legal premise) have little relevance in the kangaroo's court final assessment.
But by far the most troubling problem is that of Legitimized Corruption. You (Mellanie) have used the term "Legitimized Corruption" very accurately, but failed to elaborate on its true meaning and implications.
Legitimized Corruption means essentially that the corrupt act itself is made perfectly legal. That is why there is a possibility that the external audit on NKF may turn out nothing because Durai and his actions may have been all perfectly legitimate and authorized according to the internal constitution of the Board.
In a normal organization with bona fide controls in place, the Board would not have approved and allowed such unreasonable and lavish expenditures. However, in Singapore's setting where "anything goes" it is possible that the board were within their discretionary powers to authorize such lavish expenditures. Mind you these are
expenditures which (by any ordinary definition) would have amounted to an immoral mis-management of public moneys for unauthorized applications. But if the internal rules of conduct of NKF allowed the Board to act in this manner, it would then be an authorized and legitimate act.
So even after the process of audit has concluded it is perfectly possible for the auditors to conclude that the use of donor funds for;
a) Durai's pay of SGD600,000 and his salary of SGD1.8 million;
b) All expenses and application of donor funds used for purchase of SGD990/- god taps;
c) All expenses for first class air travel;
d) The levying of a 30% Admin Fee;
e) The hiring of personal drivers and limos.
All of the above are authorized and legitimate.
Anyway we all know that the so called "audit" of the NKF accounts is merely a publicity stunt to show case to the world that the current government and the new board is taking steps to remain accountable.
But does this make the above acts any more acceptable and morally correct. NO! Of cause not. An atrocity is still an atrocity even though it is legitimized.
One clear example is prostitution in Singapore. It is legal and the fact that it is legal does not detract one iota from the fact that it is still immoral, depraved and inhuman.
Of cause there are critics who will argue that moral values are to subjective concepts and we cannot always use these imprecise measures to define what is right or wrong. And I concede that there is some truth in this as we live in a world coloured in grey.
However, there will always remain some acts which are so blatantly wrong that they remain morally objectionable and immoral by any standard and yardstick. And the NKF scam (as well as Singapore ministerial salaries) fall within this category. It is morally wrong by any measure and this is not a grey area at all.
This same logic applies on a larger scale as regards ministerial salaries and the process that is orchestrated to "approve" such unreasonable and lavish salaries (amounting to millions of dollars per minister).
Legitimized Corruption works much like Money Laundering, but is worse. In essence Legitimized Corruption is corruption which is made legal. These perpetrators attempt to do what drug cartels and money launderers do;- basically "launder" the money (or the dishonest act) and make the final product appear nice and clean.
But senior politicians differ from your average drug lord or mafia boss in one important respect;- these ministers are much more sophisticated. They know the system (and probably designed it) and know how to manipulate and tweak the system so that they can have access to the ill-gotten gains without getting their hands dirty.
Next to them, Gordon Gecko and the God-Father look like novices and vestal virgins.
However make no mistake the underlying act itself remains wrong, dishonest and morally objectionable but is hidden under a cloak of legitimacy. Drug money (and money from dishonest trades) is still ill-gotten loot. Behind this elaborate sham are a host of corporate and state entities (GLCs, state owned entities and yes, charitable organisations) which are set-up to place a corporate veil between the
real perpetrators and the morally objectionable and dishonest transaction.
The fact that it is perfectly legitimate does not itself make it MORALLY CORRECT.
This is especially the case when you have a legislature that is totally removed (and remains out of touch) with the moral values and aspirations of the people it is supposed to serve and protect.
In fact, this kind of legitimized corruption is the worst possible kind as it means the corruption has infiltrated the most senior ranks of management (and the political leaders).
Compared to this elaborate deceit, the more obvious corruption in Indonesia are crude by comparison and far easier to identify and correct as it is acknowledged that such objectionable acts itself are WRONG and are not endorsed by the country's laws.
How do you ask a cop to catch a thief when the cop himself is a thief?
Legitimized Corruption by its very nature is more sinister and difficult to identify. For instance, a government official who accepts bribes worth $1.6 million a year is guilty of corruption. But what happens if this same official or minister receives this money as part of his "LEGITIMATE" salary.
In both cases the act itself is the same unconscionable and immoral act. But in the later case, there is no need for the official to hide his ill-gotten gains as it is
formally endorsed by an equally corrupt legislature/parliament who has a hand in the ill gotten gains.
The definition of a Parasitic Leech is as follows: "leech: a follower who hangs around a host (without benefit to the host) in hope of gain or advantage"
The kind of legitimized corruption already endorsed and prevalent in Singapore's state machinery is far worse. It is a cancerous malice which is more surreptitious and insidious.
The festering rot is not immediately apparent to an external casual observer but is eating away the core of the its host. Left unchecked, such parasites will consume a once healthy body before discarding the empty shell and relocating to another unwary host.
Legitimized Corruption is also like cancer. It is a chronic ailment which rooted itself very deeply within the host (and the state machinery). Such a chronic ailment did not occur over night but took place over decades of accumulated unchecked accesses.
Durai himself was in the NKF for over 30 years and it is no mere coincidence that
Singapore has been under the same government (and people and family) for over 30 years.
This is precisely the reason why in the US and other bona fide democracies there is a mandatory change in administration every 4-8 years. A new administration brings forth a completely new government which will was away unchecked accesses and commence things tabula rasa.
But somehow in Singapore it appears that only families starting with the Lee sirname or who are closely affiliated with this first family are the only candidates who qualify for election.
What a quaint and family friendly arrangement! Its just too bad that the average
Singaporean is excluded from this elitist inner-circle.
However, Singapore's Ruling Elite also have to be wary of the accompanying dangers of in-breeding which can occur from a small and exclusive gene pool. Cancerous deformaities can result after generations of in-breeding.
And the Cancer has many signs and symptoms. There have already been many evident tell tale signs of the internal rot and its accompanying putrid stench. However, Singaporeans in their numbed state of awareness may be mistaking the over-powering stench of decay for sweet perfume.
The entire state machinery is orchestrated to maintain this state of illusion and deception.
In the normal mechanics of an open and transparent state legislature and government, the moral values of the mans on the street is reflected (although not perfectly) in the policy formulation process.
This is not the case in Singapore and your "leaders" know it. Just challenge them to run a referendum regarding their salaries and it will be evident that 90% of the population are totally disgusted by such blatant acts of greed.
Of cause the local state owned media will somehow always paint the picture of an adoring and obedient public as part of an elaborate charade. So the truth never ever gets out.
Corruption of this scale starts form the top and slowly works its way down the ranks to pollute every senior arm of the state machinery from the Judiciary to Legislature to the Executive and especially to a docile and compliant state managed local press.
It cannot be stopped easily without external intervention.
Slowly but surely what started off as a morally unacceptable issue becomes part and parcel of "accepted norm" which is disguised behind a pile of state endorsed laws and bills.
Even the once sacred document, the Constitution, is not spared and is re-written to the whims and fancies of those they serve. How many Singaporeans are aware of the fact that the country's Constituion has been amended to allow state owned entities and GLCs easier access directly to the country's reserves?
And it also does not take a genius to work out that it is the close affiliates of the Ruling Elite who sit on the management boards of these state owned entities and GLCs.
The following is a fascinating observation. The exact size of Singapore's foreign exchange reserves and the management of those funds is designated as a STATE SECURITY FOR INTERNAL SECURITY REASONS.
Is it mere co-incidence that the conservative ball park estimate of the net worth of the Lee family is roughly equivalent to your country's reserves? (USD130-140 billion?)
What you have in Singapore are a bunch of hired mercenaries who are ripping off the very people they are supposed to look after.
Singaporeans. This is your country and your life. If you continue in this state of drugged apathy, you will cease to have any control over your own faith and destiny.
Do you really want to hand over your life to the devil?
Do you want to have a Singapore with No Singaporeans?
Its time to wake up from your state of denial and confront the harsh reality before your very eyes.
#Article posted by Wolfgang Holzem / Erwan Shah @ 10:47 AM
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