Reverend Ming Yi, chief of the Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre, who is a public and well-known figure in charity shows that were held for the past few years, had been charged in court for several offences concerning the hospital’s financial affairs. Amongst the charges include fraud, forgery and falsification of accounts. He allegedly forged documents to cheat auditors and provided false information to the Commissioner of Charities.

Due to this probe, the hospital has lost its status to provide tax exemptions to donors. 2 other staff were also charged with Reverend Ming Yi. A 4th person, who is not involved in the financial affairs of the hospital, was also charged for possession of obscene films at a residence that is co-owned by the abbot and the Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery.

Reverend Ming Yi is currently out on bail and his case will be heard again on 4th August 2008.

10 Charges against Ming Yi

  • Defrauding the charity
  • Helping to falsify accounts
  • Forgery
  • Giving false information
  • Sum involved: $300,000

    By Chong Chee Kin

  • BUDDHIST monk Ming Yi, the flamboyant chief of the Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre, was accused yesterday of several offences concerning its financial affairs.

    The 46-year-old, whose real name is Goh Kah Heng, was charged with defrauding the charity, forgery and helping to falsify its accounts, all offences under the Penal Code.

    He was also accused of forging documents to cheat auditors and giving false information to the Commissioner of Charities, both before and after a probe was initiated last November by the Ministry of Health (MOH), which is in charge of medical charities. These are breaches of the Charities Act and Penal Code.

    The sums involved totalled about $300,000. Ming Yi faces up to a year’s jail for providing false information to the Commissioner, and up to seven years’ jail for forgery.

    Accompanied by a few friends and a team of three lawyers headed by Senior Counsel Andre Yeap, the saffron-robed monk had the 10 charges read to him in English in a district court.

    Ren Ci is the second large charity involved in court proceedings following the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) scandal that ended with its former chief T.T. Durai going to jail.

    Like the NKF, Ren Ci ran big annual fund-raising shows which reaped millions of dollars in donations, and the highlight every year was a stunt performed by Ming Yi.

    In the wake of the probe, Ren Ci, which runs a hospital for the chronically ill, lost its right to promise its donors tax exemptions.

    Yesterday, a solemn Ming Yi found himself accused of fiddling with the charity’s accounts by re-classifying personal loans he took from it.

    He is said to have moved those loans to the Mandala Buddhist Cultural Centre, a business he had a share in, or categorised them as part of advances given to him to invest on behalf of Ren Ci.

    He is also accused of trying to cover his tracks by showing investigators fake documents to back his claims.

    He is said to have conspired with two others to produce the false documents to mislead the Commissioner of Charities.

    Raymond Yeung Chi Hang, 33, Ming Yi’s former personal executive, and David Phua Seow Hwa, 47, a manager at Ren Ci, were named as his co-conspirators and charged yesterday too.

    Other charges relate to a $50,000 loan Ming Yi allegedly made to Yeung while he was Ren Ci’s chief executive, and a $300,000 donation. Court documents accuse him of dishonestly misappropriating these sums.

    The MOH said in a statement yesterday that the Commissioner of Charities had suspended Ming Yi from his office as the charity’s chief executive officer and executive positions in five other charities including Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery where he was abbot.

    But Ren Ci said Ming Yi had resigned voluntarily.

    He was freed on bail of $200,000 and is due back in court on Aug 4.

    cheekin@sph.com.sg

    Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime%2BNews/Story/STIStory_258042.html

    The crux of the case:

    Accused of lying

    Ming Yi allegedly claimed half of a $600,000 donation was a personal loan

    He allegedly falsified papers to cover up a $50,000 loan to his helper

    He allegedly said $300k in loans from charity was to invest for Ren Ci

    By Chong Chee Kin

    THE Buddhist monk who used to head Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre has been accused of trying to cover his tracks.

    When auditors opened the charity’s books and began asking questions, Ming Yi allegedly told them that a $50,000 sum paid out by Ren Ci was a loan to Mandala Buddhist Cultural Centre to buy wood.

    He also purportedly claimed that half of a $600,000 donation to Ren Ci was actually a loan to him.

    The prosecution believes these two claims to be untrue.

    With regard to the $50,000, it will try to prove that this was the sum the monk misappropriated in 2004 to grant a loan to his helper, Raymond Yeung.

    The prosecution believes that Ming Yi conspired with Yeung in May 2004 to pass off the amount as a loan to Mandala, a shop which deals in Buddhist artefacts.

    To do this, the monk was said to have worked with Yeung to forge a document; a Ren Ci clerk, acting on this, prepared a payment voucher from Ren Ci to Mandala.

    When the auditors started poring through Ren Ci’s books last December on behalf of the Commissioner of Charities, the monk allegedly stuck to this story.

    Questioned by the auditors from Ernst and Young Associates, Ming Yi apparently told them that Mandala was to use the $50,000 to buy wood.

    And to show the commissioner proof of the purchase, the monk allegedly conspired with Yeung to come up with a letter, supposedly from a company in China, about the transaction.

    Ming Yi is also accused of forging the minutes of a meeting he had with the Ren Ci management committee in July 2001.

    In the minutes, he was said to have reclassified his personal loans from Ren Ci, amounting to nearly $300,000, as part of loans to Mandala, in which he has a stake.

    This would have duped the charity’s auditors into thinking that the committee had approved of the change in the status of his loans.

    The monk now also stands accused of misappropriating the $300,000 from Ren Ci and using it as part repayment for outstanding loans Mandala owed the charity last year.

    To explain the amount when the probe started this year, he apparently conspired with Phua Seow Hwa, a manager in Ren Ci, to show the Commissioner that half of a $600,000 donation from a businessman was actually a personal loan to him.

    He faces separate charges for allegedly reclassifying his personal loans in 1998 and 1999, when he is alleged to have signed off on Ren Ci’s audited financial statements, stating that his personal loans from Ren Ci were part of advances to him for investments on behalf of the charity.

    The monk, represented by Senior Counsel Andre Yeap, is out on $200,000 bail. He is due back in court on Aug 4.

    cheekin@sph.com.sg

    Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapore/Story/STIStory_258166.html

    And the article on the 4th person being charged:

    Charged: Man with obscene films in monk’s condo

    A FOURTH man charged yesterday appeared to have nothing to do with the financial affairs of Ren Ci Hospital.

    Pang Leong Chuan, 27, was charged with having 138 obscene and uncertified films.

    He used to be the former personal assistant of monk Ming Yi, and was caught with most of the illegal films in an upscale apartment where the monk sometimes stayed.

    Ming Yi is one of five listed owners of the apartment in The Cornwall, a condominium off Holland Road. Checks showed that the other owners included the Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery, where Ming Yi was the abbot.

    Monastery staff were said to live in the fourth-floor unit, valued at about $2 million. Pang is believed to have lived there too.

    Commercial Affairs Department officers confiscated 95 films at the apartment on Feb18, and another 43 from Pang’s listed address in Tampines.

    A resident said three men, including Ming Yi, lived there. Others said they had seen him returning at night in a car with two men.

    Pang, a university student, was the monk’s personal executive for more than a year.

    No one was at his Tampines flat when The Straits Times checked yesterday. He is believed to have lived with his mother, though he was seldom home.

    He faces six charges – four for possessing obscene films and two for having films uncertified for screening – and may be fined and jailed if found guilty.

    He has engaged a lawyer.

    TEH JOO LIN

    Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime+News/Story/STIStory_258044.html?sunwMethod=GET

    Article extracted on 16th July 2008



    Reader's Comments

    1. Jwong | July 17th, 2008 at 10:37 am

      Way to go, monk! Hahahah.
      But seriously, a monk with a $2million condo?

    2. The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Daily Sg: 17 Jul 2008 | July 17th, 2008 at 11:25 am

      […] More Clarity! – Simply Gab: … there will be others (response to Andrew) – Simply Jean: Ren Ci probe: 4 persons charged – 3 relating to financial affairs, 1 for possession for *ahem* films – To Fix a Mocking Peasant: Charged for Possessing Uncertified […]

    3. Rockeye | July 17th, 2008 at 11:39 am

      I’m not surprise because charity work in Singapore has become a commerical entity under the guidance and close supervision from PAP.

      Money always not enough and the more the merrier!!

    4. Wealth Journey | July 17th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

      It’s good that this purging is happening. It will move the charity system to a more robust corporate governance.

      However, I would expect more details on what the role of the committee is, why this was not detected internally and how they could have let this gone thru.

      It seems this is a common occurrence thus far. You have a board committee that seems to be instituted because there is a need for it, so you go thru’ the formality. But this really raises my curiousity on whether the members of the board know what their role is and how to execute that.

      To me, this is a failure of the board committee as much as the monk that this was allowed to happen.

      http://wealthjourney.wordpress.com

    5. Neo | July 18th, 2008 at 1:46 am

      It seems like government’s initiatives of promoting entrepreneurship has taken place! Even monk knows how to run an entity like a company CEO. Like Jwong said, way to go, monk!

    6. The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Weekly Roundup: Week 29 | July 19th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

      […] Ren Ci Monk Scam? – Simply Gab: … there will be others (response to Andrew) – Simply Jean: Ren Ci probe: 4 persons charged – 3 relating to financial affairs, 1 for possession for *ahem* films – To Fix a Mocking Peasant: Charged for Possessing Uncertified Films? – Feed Me To The Fish: Has […]

    7. JTAN | July 22nd, 2008 at 1:01 am

      I am very pleased that there is true justice against pilferage, criminal breach of trust, and conspiracy in our country, even among religious leaders.

    8. JTAN | July 22nd, 2008 at 1:03 am

      There is a serious declension of moral values in the charity and religious organisations in Singapore. Charity and religious leaders are getting very materialistic nowadays. If it happens to the former charity chief TT Durai, now Monk Ming Yi of Ren Ci, and etc, it could be anybody anywhere. What about the lucrative pays of the mega church pastors in Singapore? Will the authority investigate into the large charity and religious organisations, as temptation of conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and etc., in these areas is the strongest?

    9. Questions for Joi Ito | August 10th, 2008 at 1:24 am

      […] 2: Unless of course the charity in question is Ren Ci, or NKF, or the others that have yet to blow up in the faces of our […]

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