Develop framework to curb misuse of church funds

I urge the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) to consider the following in order to minimise the misuse of church funds:

•Provide a framework for how to govern a church well.

•Provide a framework for whistle-blowers to go to the NCCS, instead of the police, so that there is a chance for correction before the weight of the law is applied.

•Provide a framework for independent audit of its member churches.

All "gaps" are to be addressed by the church leadership so that they can be fixed, in order to prevent a disaster.

Member churches which satisfy the audit should be given certification by NCCS.

People who attend such certified churches will have the assurance that their donations or tithes will not be misused, given that they are often not privy to the inner workings of the church.

While the NCCS does not have jurisdiction over the workings of individual churches, providing these frameworks will encourage accountability and deter any influential leader from following in the footsteps of City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee, who, together with five others, has been found guilty over the misuse of church funds ("Six accused in City Harvest trial guilty of all charges"; Oct 22).

Liu Fook Thim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'Develop framework to curb misuse of church funds'. Print Edition | Subscribe