SINGAPORE — Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) has suspended its executive director, Ms Deshi Gill, following allegations of possible misappropriation of HOME’s funds by Ms Gill.
This came after an online post via Reddit where it was alleged that Ms Gill “faked thousands of dollars in claims without providing documentation proof of these expenses”.
According to the migrant worker NGO’s Facebook post on Tuesday, the suspension was put in place for it to conduct its internal inquiry.
After preliminary investigations, HOME believes there is a basis for suspected misconduct and noted that relevant authorities have been noted.
“HOME’s Board and staff will provide all necessary information as part of any investigations that will be carried out. As the matter is now with the authorities, we are unable to comment further.”
“HOME is currently reviewing our governance controls to ensure the rigour of our internal processes so that such lapses will not occur again.”
Ms Gill has been working with HOME since January 2017, first as a Senior Finance Manager and subsequently its Executive Director from June 2020.
It is unknown when Ms Gill was suspended by HOME.
HOME also took the opportunity to thank all members of the public and donors who have supported it over the years.
According to its annual report, HOME had an income of S$1.87 million and an expenditure of S$1.86 million in FY2021.
The Reddit post also criticised the failure of the HOME’s Board of Directors in their oversight of Ms Gill but “still has the gall to ask us members to trust them, and the process, to avoid speculation for their own safety”.
The poster asked, “Where is the transparency and accountability expected from an NGO who is using public & private donation to help marginalised migrant workers. How can we use the public’s hard earned money meant to help migrant workers to enrich our own senior executives?”
HOME said in its Facebook post that its commitment to advance the migrant worker cause remains unwavering.
The NGO was very much involved in the shocking case of the Indonesian domestic worker, Parti Liyani who was accused of theft by her former employer, Liew Mun Leong, former chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong.
On 4 September 2020, the High Court dismissed the convictions of Ms Liyani for four theft charges brought against her by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC), four years after she was first arrested by the Singapore Police at the Changi Airport in 2016.
HOME had provided assistance in lodging and funding for Ms Liyani during the time she was trapped in Singapore due to the trumpeted-up charges by the Liew family. It also got the pro-bono lawyer, Anil Balchandani, who fought fiercely against the state prosecutors in the hearings at the State Court and High Court and proved her innocence.
Karl Liew, who falsely accused Ms Liyani of theft, was charged with giving false evidence in November 2020 and is still in the process of having a hearing date set.
HOME has emphasised that it will continue to strive to improve the well-being and dignity of migrant workers in Singapore and that all its operations and services will continue to function during this period of time.