Jail for former mosque officer who misappropriated $21k from donations

Nurul Jannah Md Latiff took up to $1,500 each time by concealing the money inside her sleeve before leaving the premises of the mosque. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE MAPS

SINGAPORE - A social development officer of Assyakirin Mosque, who was entrusted with cash donations collected from worshippers during Friday prayers, abused the trust placed in her and misappropriated $21,000.

Nurul Jannah Md Latiff then used her ill-gotten gains to repay her home renovation and bank loans.

The 28-year-old Singaporean, who worked at the mosque in Yung An Road in Taman Jurong, was sentenced on Friday (Aug 7) to eight weeks' jail after pleading guilty to one count of criminal breach of trust.

The court heard that Nurul started working at the mosque in June 2014 and was tasked to help low-income families with the administration of their documents to obtain financial assistance.

Between October 2018 and April last year, she started to volunteer to count the cash donations with her colleagues in the administrative office even though it was not part of her job scope.

Nurul then misappropriated the money, taking up to $1,500 each time by concealing the money inside her sleeve before leaving the premises.

Court documents did not state how her offences came to light, but the mosque's executive chairman alerted the police on Nov 18 last year.

She has since made full restitution.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said the mosque detected financial irregularities last October before alerting the police the following month.

Muis added that it "does not tolerate and takes a serious view of any financial impropriety at our mosques" and that there are procedures in place to ensure good governance.

Its spokesman said: "Over the past few years, Muis has conducted refresher training on the Mosque Financial Regulations (MFR) for 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 MFR."

Nurul is now on bail of $15,000 and she has been ordered to surrender herself at the State Courts on Sept 4 to begin serving her sentence.

For criminal breach of trust, an offender can be jailed for up to seven years and fined.

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