The Chief Priest of Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, has been arrested for criminal breach of trust over the loss of some gold ornaments. The temple, which is located along South Bridge Road at Chinatown, dates back all the way to 1827 and is considered a national monument.
In a press statement released on Saturday (1 Aug), the temple committee explained that the gold ornaments, that are frequently used for prayers, are typically kept under the custody of the Chief Priest in the inner sanctum of the temple.
Regular audits take place to ensure that the gold ornaments are physically accounted for but the temple committee found that some gold ornaments were missing in the last such audit.
The temple committee questioned the Chief Priest, who subsequently returned all the missing gold ornaments. The temple committee confirmed that all the ornaments were accounted for and that no other person was involved in the incident.
The temple did not mention when the loss was discovered. It also did not name the Chief Priest in its press release but temple chairman Mr S Lakshmanan confirmed that the Chief Priest is Mr Sivashri Kandasamy Senapathi.
The temple lodged a police report given that an offence appeared to have been committed and said that the Chief Priest is out on bail. The police confirmed that they have arrested a 36-year-old man for “criminal breach of trust as a servant” and that investigations are ongoing.
The Hindu Endowments Board, a government statutory board that manages the temple, was kept abreast of all developments since the loss was discovered and is working with Sri Mariamman Temple to achieve closure on the matter.