NKF Saga

Ex-NKF CEO repays $4m debt owed to charity

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012

With a final payment of $250,000, a chapter of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) saga, which involves former chief executive T.T. Durai and three former officials, comes to a close.

Mr Durai has repaid in full the $4.05 million he owed the charity, reported The Sunday Times. To avoid bankruptcy, the disgraced ex-CEO had agreed to pay the debt in instalments.

NKF’s latest annual report shows that Mr Durai paid the final $250,000 in July last year. His first payment of $500,000 was made in July 2007, followed by 11 payments of $300,000 each, before the final payment.

NKF’s chairman Gerard Ee told The Sunday Times that the charity had also recovered what it could from former chairman Richard Yong, former treasurer Loo Say San and former board member Matilda Chua, who along with Mr Durai, were sued for $12 million in 2007 by NKF.

Mr Ee, who took over the helm when Mr Durai and the entire board stepped down, uncovered questionable practices after hiring auditors to examine the charity’s affairs. This led to NKF’s decision to sue the four.

NKF had claimed that the amount included about $2 million paid to Mr Durai in salaries and benefits, around $4 million in lost donations as a result of the scandal and about $550,000 in legal costs incurred by the charity when Mr Durai sued SPH.

Mr Durai had sued Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) in 2005 over an article in The Straits Times which mentioned a gold-plated tap in his office toilet.

He eventually withdrew his defamation suit after his $600,000 annual salary, first-class flights and other details of his time in office were made public. This led to the resignation of Mr Durai and the entire NKF board.

Mr Durai avoided bankruptcy by agreeing to pay NKF the $4.05 million in instalments, while Mr Yong, Mr Loo and Ms Chua were made bankrupt after failing to pay. Their bankruptcies were annulled in December last year.

The Sunday Times reported that he was last seen at NKF founder Khoo Oon Teik’s funeral last month and that he now works as a business consultant overseas.

He is also said to have sold an apartment worth $700,000 at Upper East Cost Road and borrowed $500,000 from friends in order to repay his debt.

Mr Ee said: “With the annulment of the bankruptcy orders, we can now place the matter behind us and concentrate on the future of NKF. We must not forget the good that these directors have done for NKF in the past. We acknowledge their contributions and will always credit them for their contributions.”