Regulator probes co-op for statutory board employees for 'possible irregularities'

SINGAPORE- The regulator of cooperative societies here has launched a probe into a co-operative for permanent employees of statutory boards following possible fraud.

In a statement sent on Monday evening, the Registrar of Co-operative Societies said it had received information about "possible irregularities in the governance and administration" in the Singapore Statutory Boards Employees' Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society.

The probe will look into the operations, financial condition, and affairs of the co-op, the Registry of Co-operative Societies, which is under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, said.

The Straits Times had reported earlier this month that about $5 million has been reported missing from the co-op's account, and that the police are looking into the matter. After the news broke, the co-op had issued a statement saying it had suspended two of its workers, without elaborating.

The Registry said it was alerted to the fraud allegedly committed by two of the co-op's employees in October last year.

The Registry said the probe, which is separate from the ongoing police investigation, is to "ensure that the members' interests are protected".

The incident has put the co-op in a "vulnerable financial position", it added.

The co-op founded in 1925 is one of Singapore's oldest, and has about 1,200 members.

Thrift and loan co-ops operate on a self-financing basis. Members pay a small entrance fee and undertake to put in a regular monthly saving towards the Subscription Capital. Co-ops generally provide financial services by taking in deposits and granting loans to members.