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Former staff refutes Sri Lanka fund swindle allegation

 | July 20, 2012

There was no mismanagement in disbursing monies collected from the Malaysian public for the Sri Lankan war victims, says ex-personal assistant to Penang Deputy Chief Minister.

PETALING JAYA: A former staff of Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy today refuted claims that the Sri Lanka Tamil War Victims Relief Fund, spearheaded by the DAP, was mismanaged.

M Sateesh , the former personal assistant to Ramasamy, said he had full knowledge of the fund since he was the secretary of the fund and that there was no mismanagement in disbursing monies collected from the Malaysian public for the Sri Lankan war victims.

“The committee [for the Fund] was formed with the consent of Penang DAP. It was chaired by [then] DAP committee member, RSN Rayer (who is also Seri Delima assemblyman) and he was assisted by a deputy, A Krishnan, another DAP state committee member at that time,” he told FMT when contacted.

Sateesh said that on March 8, 2009, the fund organised a rally in Butterworth, Penang, in support of the Sri Lankan war victims. The rally attracted nearly 10,000 people and donations from the event amounted to RM73,960.40.

“We then finalised details of the accounts and after having settled the outstanding amount to the suppliers of the event, the committee had deposited about RM65,000 into the Penang DAP account in Public Bank,” he said.

He added that the committee decided to channel the fund to an UK-based organisation, Mercy Mission, which initiated a campaign, “Mercy Mission to Wanni”.

“We felt Mercy Mission was a better organisation for us to channel the funds, because we have always doubted the sincerity of the Sri Lankan government to give the aid to the war victims. The committee deputy chairman Krishnan and myself went to the Public Bank branch at Jalan Macalister, Penang, to complete the fund transfer,” said.

He said Mercy Mission was chosen because it had spearheaded the campaign to assist the 300,000 displaced Tamils in northeast Sri Lanka. The Tamil diaspora around the world had also contributed to the mission.

No room for mismanagement

Sateesh explained that the mission had sent a vessel – MV Captain Ali – to transport the aid but the ship was intercepted and detained by the Sri Lankan navy.

“So, there is no room for mismanagement of the fund or that the fund was transferred to anyone’s account. Everything was done under the supervision of the state DAP,” said Sateesh.

On Wednesday, G Asoghan, the Jalan Bagan Luar DAP branch chairman, wanted Ramasamy to explain what happened to the mone collected by the fund.

“Ramasamy never chaired any meetings pertaining to the fund. He only acted in an advisory role. Asoghan’s statement suggested that Ramasamy chaired the meetings. This is clearly misleading and untrue,” he said.

He advised DAP members wanting to know details of the fund to come forward and not go to the media instead.

“If someone goes to the media before asking us, then he or she is bent on tarnishing the image of the party and its leaders, in this case Indian leaders in DAP. It is just to raise public doubts and damage the party’s integrity. They should be prepared to face legal action if they continue to make baseless allegations,” he added.

Editor’s Note: This story was last updated at 11.52pm, July 26, 2012 to reflect accurately that the Mercy Mission mentioned in the story is actually Mercy Mission to Vanni and not another organisation called Mercy Mission World. We apologise if our article had wrongly implied the latter group as the one involved in DAP’s mercy mission in Sri Lanka.

Also read:

Confusion over Mercy Mission


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