SINGAPORE, March 1, 2021 (Daily Excelsior): Singapore’s Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) is taking steps to improve the tracking of all movements of gold items within the four Hindu temples that it manages, the culture minister said on Monday, weeks after a former Indian temple chief priest was charged with misappropriating and pawning gold jewellery. The HEB will also carry out more audits each year, including unannounced ones, Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, said when asked a question by parliamentarian Murali Pillai if the HEB had done a review of the case at Sri Mariamman Temple and if steps were being taken to prevent a repeat.
Kandasamy Senapathi, the former chief priest of the 149-year-old Sri Mariamman Temple, was charged on February 16 with allegedly misappropriating 172 pieces of jewellery from the temple over four years from 2016-2020. He later pawned them for over US$1.5 million, wiring $105,247 overseas during the period. Tong said that the HEB conducts routine audits at all four temples, including Sri Mariamman Temple to ensure that all ceremonial jewellery is properly accounted for. The other three temples overseen by the board are Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Sri Sivan Temple, and Sri Vairavimada Kaliamman Temple.