After reading the article on "Whistle blowers" in the SALT magazine by National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, I am saddened to learn about the plight of those righteous whistle blowers - getting themselves into deep water, and yet their efforts were wasted. I salute to these righteous souls.
If you wish to read this article, please click here. It is reproduced with permission from the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC). This article first appeared in the March-April 2006 issue of SALT, a publication of NVPC.
I have also shared my below thoughts with NVPC :
In theory, the mission of any voluntary organization can be easily accomplished through the commitment of altruistic individuals - full-time staff, voluntary committee members/trustees and volunteers. Hence, there will be no fraudulent practices for personal gains and benefits.
Unfortunately, in our materialistic society, I feel there is a lack of like-minded individuals to join hands in support of volunteerism and humanity. Even if NPOs put in place a whistle blower policy as suggested by NCSS, it is unlikely that the administrators will execute it meaningful and effectively. In the end, the whistle blowers will suffer. To prove my point - retrospectively, a whistle blower policy would not have helped the old NKF.
Interestingly, my friend came up with up a special painting to serve as a reminder for people working in NPOs to "steer clear" of greed. Please click here to view painting.
In the case of the old NKF, both its former chairman and treasurer were charged. It heightens the awareness of the liability of volunteers holding important roles such as director, chairman and treasurer in NPOs. Quite often, some individuals become board/committee members for the wrong reasons - they may not have the time, and right attitude for such important positions.
As a good practice of corporate governance, NPOs should only appoint dedicated, righteous and competent volunteers to serve as board/committee members. Where to find these righteous, honest and dedicated volunteers? It poses a tough challenge to NPOs. Thinking aloud, perhaps, the accountants and treasurers of non-profit organizations should be bold enough to serve as watchdogs and hound dogs in order to safeguard the interests of the NPOs, donors and beneficiaries, even at the expense of losing one's job. I would like to share A/Prof Goh Lee Gan's kind thoughts : " God eventually rewards kind souls with a happy heart, a sunny smile, good health and a positive meaning in life: these are gifts and best rewards one can have. One will die happy."
I would also like to share the following excerpt taken from my profile used by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, (ACCA) UK to inspire its members and students :
Lee Soh Hong hopes that the accountants of the future will `live up to their responsibilities ethically, truthfully and fairly'. She also asserts that in the light of the Enron and Worldcom scandals, accountants should be `discerning enough to point out questionable matters and rectify mistakes immediately'. She feels such `timely action would ensure that resources are appropriately deployed in the best interests of all parties.'
Posted on 23 April 2006