Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ren Ci and Ming Yi - court sentencing

Disgraced monk and former head of charity Ren Ci, Ming Yi, has just been sentenced to 10 months' jail and his assistant Raymond Yeung was sentenced to 9 months. They were both found guilty of several charges related to a unauthorised loan of $50,000 made to Yeung. Many of the charges related to the covering up of the loan such as making false statements to the Commissioner of Charities and creating a false payment voucher. This case is another example of where if the defendants had admitted their wrong when first discovered instead of covering it up, they may well have escaped jail sentences. However, as is often the case, the cover up offences were more numerous than the original offence.

The judge was not impressed with Ming Yi's alleged sacrifices for the charity although a strong mitigation plea was made by his Senior Counsel Andre Yeap. An aggravating factor was that there were numerous acts of trying to cover up the unauthorised loan. Also taken into account was that public trust in the charity system was affected by such acts.

A contrast can be drawn with the case of TT Durai, former Chief Executive Office of the National Kidney Foundation. He was sentenced to a jail term of 3 months under the Prevention of Corruption Act in relation to an incorrect voucher which mischaracterized commission paid to a fund raiser. However, in Durai's case, there was no loss caused to the charity. In Ming Yi's case, the loan was repaid only after investigations had begun.

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