Episcopal group demands return of tsunami funds

Published 20 November 2009  |  
In its civil suit against the Church of South India, the US-based Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has demanded a full return of 18.78 crore given for the relief and rehabilitation of tsunami victims.

The case filed at the Madras High Court sought the return of all monies with 24 per cent interest, given between March 2005 and January 2006.

ERD president Robert W Radtke has accused the former CSI leadership of swindling Rs 7.5 crore from the tsunami relief fund.

Pointing that it was a breach of the terms and conditions of the memorandum of understanding, Radtke demanded all funds be returned in compliance with the terms.

According to the MoU, the CSI must fully cooperate in the auditing of the financial activities and also funds not spent on activities must be returned within 12 months after the end of the project.

Earlier, in a statement, the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church, explained that the legal action was taken to "ensure funds are properly used to benefit the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami."

"The sole objective of our ongoing efforts to recover the tsunami relief funds is to fulfill our original intent to faithfully administer the funds that are received on behalf of vulnerable people," it stated.

The major fraud in the handling of the overseas fund was uncovered after an investigation by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Chennai police.

The investigation revealed that the former general secretary of the CSI, Pauline Sathyamurthy, and her husband had siphoned off crores for luxury goods and properties.

Reprints

More News in Ministries