BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Over $115,000 has been misappropriated from the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation (YSHHB), HRH Prince Abdul Malik revealed in a sabda on Tuesday.
Chairing a meeting of YSHHB’s Committee of Governors, he pointed out that from 2004 to 2016, there had been eight breach of trust cases involving five staff, involving a total of $115,528.
“What is disheartening is that the offences were not reported to the police, nor reported to the executive committee and management of YSHHB,” HRH Prince Abdul Malik said.
The embezzlement was uncovered after an audit was conducted by the Audit Department of the Prime Minister’s Office — the first since the charitable foundation was established in 1992.
HRH Prince Abdul Malik urged YSHHB management to take the matter seriously, calling for remedial actions to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
Responding to the sabda, chairman of YSHHB’s Board of Directors, YB Pehin Major General (R) Dato Hj Halbi Hj Mohd Yussof, said action will be taken against the alleged offenders.
“The audit report and the management’s response will be discussed in the upcoming audit committee meeting”, he said.
During the meeting, HRH Prince Abdul Malik also highlighted the decrease in rental income from the YSHHB Shopping Complex, as well as rent arrears, which is affecting the foundation’s cash flow.
Rental income has decreased to $3.7 million a year, due to the many shops and office lots left vacant. The amount of arrears was not disclosed.
YB Pehin Dato Hj Halbi said the collection of arrears will be carried out by YYSHHB’s subsidiary company, Wadah Amal, effective March 17, 2018.
“Regardless of whether the tenant is still renting at the shopping complex or not, the board of directors will authorise Wadah Amal through a ‘Deed of Assignment’ to collect the arrears,” he said.
The shopping complex was built in 1996 with an endowment from His Majesty the Sultan. According to its website, proceeds from rent and other income streams are channelled towards the foundation’s charity work.
In an effort to attract to new tenants, the YSHHB shopping complex launched a new website and social media accounts last month to boost its appeal to visitors amidst stiff competition from other commercial centres.
This article was updated at 12.02pm on October 3, 2018.