Thu, Oct 08, 2009
my paper
Ming Yi and ex-aide found guilty

[DAY OF RECKONING (photo above): Ming Yi (left) and Raymond Yeung at the district court yesterday where they were found guilty of various offences.]

By Rachel Chan

FOUNDER and former chief executive of Ren Ci Hospital Shi Ming Yi has been found guilty of fraud, falsifying documents, misappropriating funds and giving false information to the Commissioner of Charities.

His former personal assistant, Raymond Yeung, has also been found guilty of conspiring to falsify a Ren Ci payment voucher and giving false information to the Commissioner of Charities.

The duo appeared composed when District Judge Toh Yung Cheong gave his verdict in court yesterday afternoon. Ming Yi, 47, and Yeung, 34, were brought to court in July last year after inconsistencies in accounts belonging to Ren Ci and Mandala Buddhist & Cultural Centre - an affliated business that sold Buddhist artefacts - emerged in late 2007.

Ren Ci's books had recorded a payment of $50,000 to Mandala in May 2004, but this had not been reflected in Mandala's accounts.

Mandala was managed by Yeung from 2001 to 2004. Investigations later showed that Ming Yi, who signed the cheque and a fraudulent payment voucher for the $50,000, had meant the money to be for Yeung's personal use.

Later, Ming Yi lied to the Commissioner of Charities that Mandala had used it to purchase wood.

In a 61-page assessment of the evidence produced by both sides, Judge Toh wrote that he decided not to "attach much weight to Ming Yi's contributions towards Ren Ci in determining whether he had committed the offences".

There was evidence to directly connect Ming Yi and Yeung to the charges, he wrote.

"The prosecution, in adducing the evidence of Ming Yi's other transactions with Ren Ci and his purchases, made Ming Yi's evidence of his "good character" and contributions to Ren Ci less compelling than it originally seemed," he added.

The prosecution revealed in earlier court proceedings that Ming Yi had purchased property, a horse, a luxury car, and a golf-club membership in Australia over the years.

He had also taken a $253,000 loan from Ren Ci in 1997 to purchase shares under his name. The money was not repaid until auditors appointed by the Commissioner of Charities looked into Ren Ci's affairs.

Yesterday, the gallery was packed with members of the public keen on the outcome of the case.

Asked to comment on the degree of public interest, Ming Yi smiled and said: "Thanks to everyone who showed concern. Thank you very much."

The pair are likely to be sentenced next month, when their defence lawyer, Senior Counsel Andre Yeap, enters a mitigation plea.

Asked what he would be doing in the meantime,Ming Yi replied: "Nothing. I will go on with my daily life."

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