Former mosque leader gets 27 months' jail

Ab Mutalif Hashim helped himself to the mosque's cash collections from worshippers from 2006 to 2013 and used the money to pay for things like credit card bills, family allowances, travelling and medical expenses.
Ab Mutalif Hashim helped himself to the mosque's cash collections from worshippers from 2006 to 2013 and used the money to pay for things like credit card bills, family allowances, travelling and medical expenses.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Ex-chairman of management board took more than $370,000 from cash collections

The former chairman of the Darussalam Mosque management board who misappropriated more than $370,000 from its cash collections was sentenced to two years and three months' jail yesterday.

Ab Mutalif Hashim used the money to pay for things like credit card bills, family allowances, travelling and medical expenses.

The 58-year-old, who committed the offences from 2006 to 2013, pleaded guilty last month to six criminal breach of trust charges involving more than $300,000.

Eight similar charges linked to the remaining amount were considered during sentencing.

Ab Mutalif was the board's chairman from 2003 to August 2010, before becoming its voluntary chairman until March 2013.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin told the court that Darussalam Mosque had obtained the cash from worshippers who made their contributions through donation chests and containers.

These were located within the Commonwealth Avenue West mosque during Friday prayer sessions.

The DPP added that after these sessions, Ab Mutalif instructed people, such as the mosque's volunteers, to take the chest and containers to his office for "safekeeping".

Instead, he deposited some of the money into various bank accounts without the authorisation of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and the mosque's management board.

 
 

After helping himself to some of the mosque's cash collections, the balance was later deposited into its bank account, according to procedures.

In an earlier statement, Muis said it alerted the police after detecting financial irregularities at the mosque in 2013.

Muis also said that it has procedures in place to ensure good governance in mosques and it also reviews these measures continually to meet national regulatory standards.

It added: "Over the past few years, Muis has conducted refresher training on the mosque financial regulations to mosque staff and members of the mosque management boards to create greater awareness on the importance of good financial management.

"Muis has also put in place regular independent audits on all mosques to ensure compliance with the mosque financial regulations."

For each count of criminal breach of trust, Ab Mutalif could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2019, with the headline 'Former mosque leader gets 27 months' jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe