The Tembusu Home Help Service (THHS) for the destitute now has been given stronger internal controls and governance measures, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on Monday (13 Feb).
The measures have been put in place after a former employee allegedly cheated seven elderly residents of more than S$252,000,
Chiang Zhao Xiang, the Tembusu Home’s former assistant superintendent, was charged yesterday with one count of criminal breach of trust and two counts of cheating.
Chiang had misappropriated the money in the bank accounts of the elderly residents entrusted to him, by withdrawing it through ATM and transfers between May 2014 and January 2015. The ministry said In a statement, “MSF takes a serious view of the incident.”
After the discovery of the unauthorised withdrawals, it issued a letter of warning on 6 March 2015 to Sathya Sai Social Service (4S) and ordered it to implement measures to strengthen safekeeping of residents’ properties. 4S is the voluntary welfare organisation that runs Tembusu Home.
MSF said the measures put in place are:
- Regular savings passbook checks for all residents on top of existing checks made after routine withdrawals,
- Strengthening administration and processes regarding staff access to residents’ properties, and
- Implementing a system to allow whistle-blowing by staff and residents of the home.
In the statement MSF said control measures have also been tightened for the other welfare homes run by 4S. It said, “MSF conducted checks on all the welfare homes and verified that there were no other occurrences of a similar nature.”
“Any misconduct that compromises the welfare and interest of the residents in the welfare homes will not be tolerated. MSF will report any suspected unlawful activities to the police,” it added.
4S has recovered the full sum of money taken by Chiang and returned them to the affected residents, MSF said, and it will continue to monitor and assess Tembusu Home and other welfare homes to ensure high standards of care and governance.
Tembusu Home Help Service (THHS), is targeted at frail and home bound seniors aged 55 years and above who fulfill the following criteria:
- Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents;
- Living alone or with another frail senior/caregiver or are without a caregiver during the day;
- Require assistance in their activities of daily living; and
- Require regular medical check-ups and follow-ups (applicable to Escort Service)