The case is likely to set new standards for board members of charities in Singapore - specifying their legal duties in ensuring that public donations are properly utilised.
A decisive victory by the NKF against its former directors will also help to restore public confidence in the NKF. Which I think is what this case is really all about.
ST Jan 8, 2007
Landmark $12m NKF suit set to begin
Bid to recover money from Durai, ex-board members starts today
By Selina Lum
SOME 1 1/2 years after they resigned amid public scorn, former National Kidney Foundation (NKF) chief executive T.T. Durai and members of the old board will meet again today - not in the boardroom, but in court.
This time, they will have to give an account of themselves, as NKF's new management seeks to recover from Mr Durai and other board members at least $12 million paid out by the charity.
In what is the first suit in Singapore brought against directors of a charitable company, NKF has accused Mr Durai, former chairman Richard Yong, former treasurer Loo Say San and former board member Matilda Chua of breaching their duties towards the NKF as directors and fiduciaries.
The case will no doubt be watched with great interest, as NKF's lawyers intend to argue that Mr Durai and the board should be held to higher standards of care as custodians of public money.
The eight-week hearing before Judicial Commissioner Sundaresh Menon is likely to throw up new twists and revelations about Mr Durai and the former directors, and the public is likely to be gripped again, as it was when sensational revelations came to light about the charity in July 2005.
With eight sets of lawyers representing nine parties and tens of thousands of pages of documents involved, it is expected to be a drawn-out and fiercely contested case.
NKF's claims include: $2 million paid to Mr Durai in salaries and benefits; $4 million in lost donations, $5 million paid to companies owned by Mr Pharis Aboobacker, a friend of Mr Durai; and $550,000 in legal costs incurred when the old NKF sued Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) for defamation.
Am bracing myself for another round of "peanut" jokes...
if i had my way, the whole bunch should be executed for cheating the public.
What's the difference between, donating all the fees to the charity as compared to not collecting a fee at all?
Management accounting, I think. The lawyers working on the case will be treated as doing real work and so their billing targets will not be affected (ie they won't be treated as incompetent slackers who worked 200 hours on the case and earned $0 out of it).
The firm then donates the money back to NKF, but this comes out of the firm's revenue as a whole. The money should also become tax-exempt.
Another wayang to absolve the PAP of all blame.
When the NKF under Durai was then thought to be a great success. Every PAP members wanted to aligned themselves to its 'success' and protrayed it as another example of the PAP-led S'pore success story. Now PAP is altogether singing a different tune. Everything Durai did was WITHOUT their knowledge!
This sad case is now in court which will probably do nothing to re-emphasise the issues raised when the blow out first occurred.
Funny how a certain "hairdo" miniturd whose ministry was suppose to oversee NKF, who came out in parliament to defend Durai is now totally absolved of all blame.
There appears to be a Ong Su Ying, who was Matilda's boss. Read somewhere she is a relative of a PAP minister.
I wonder whether our infamous Durai will ever called Mrs Peanuts to the witness stand since she has stated that she will stand by his 'peanuts' salaries.
"NKF's lawyers intend to argue that Mr Durai and the board should be held to higher standards of care as custodians of public money".
Just wondering, what about the other custodians of Singapore's public money, e.g. those who made the Shin Corp deal? To me, it's the same problem... lack of transparency and accountability.
I think Mr Peanuts have told Mrs Peanuts to stfu already, so we wouldn't really expect any comments from Mrs Peanuts. Besides, SPH wouldn't want the gahmen to be upset with them, would they (for apparent reasons)?
Mr Wang said: My former law firm, Allen & Gledhill, is acting for the NKF and they have agreed to donate all their earnings from the legal fees back to the NKF. Very noble, three cheers for K Shanmugam.
Was it noble of Shanmugam?
I think not. More likely a case of political correctness or good PR.
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