Chief priest of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple arrested over missing gold ornaments

The chief priest of Sri Mariamman Temple along South Bridge Road is under probe for criminal breach of trust. — Google Maps pic via TODAY
The chief priest of Sri Mariamman Temple along South Bridge Road is under probe for criminal breach of trust. — Google Maps pic via TODAY

SINGAPORE, Aug 2 — The police have arrested the chief priest of the iconic Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, for criminal breach of trust.

A spokesperson of the temple said in a media statement last night that it had lodged a police report after finding out that some gold ornaments had gone missing while in the custody of its chief priest.

The police confirmed that a report was lodged, and that they have arrested a 36-year-old man for “criminal breach of trust as a servant”.

Police investigations are ongoing.

In its statement, the temple did not name the chief priest, but its website listed him as Sivashri Kandasamy Senapathi. A temple spokesman confirmed his identity to The Straits Times.

The temple said the gold ornaments are frequently used for prayers and kept by its chief priest in the inner sanctum of the temple.

“Regular audits are done to ensure that the gold ornaments are physically accounted for. During the last audit, it was discovered some gold ornaments were missing,” it said.

“The chief priest was questioned, and he subsequently returned all missing gold ornaments. Further checks by the Temple Committee confirmed that all gold ornaments were fully accounted for,” it added.

“As it appeared that an offence has been committed, a police report was lodged notwithstanding the fact that the temple suffered no loss. The police are investigating, and the chief priest is presently on bail.”

The temple did not indicate when the loss was discovered but said no other person was involved in the incident. It added that it had kept the Hindu Endowments Board informed from the time it found the gold ornaments missing.

Located along South Bridge Road in Chinatown, the Sri Mariamman Temple is a popular tourist destination.

It dates back to 1827 and is now a national monument. — TODAY

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