Norwegian Church in Singapore – former accountant jailed for embezzlement

A former accountant of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Singapore has been sentenced to five years’ jail for misappropriating more than S$380,000.

Lim Seng Hoo, 56, admitted to two counts of criminal breach of trust. Lim committed the offences between January 2011 and January 2012 when he was working at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church Singapore.

As accountant of the church, Lim was given access to its funds and was made an authorized signatory of the church’s bank account. He was also provided with cheques for this account.

Court documents stated that Lim siphoned money from the bank account using various methods. He would issue checks to himself first and then deposit the money into his own account or encash the checks later.

Lim would also use the checks to make payments for his personal bills. He would then try to cover his tracks by disguising the outflow of the cash as loans.

But, in January 2012, the head office of the church in Norway asked about the “unauthorized loans”. Lim said the loans were simply internal transfers of funds. He was only found out when the church became unable to contact him.

The court heard that no restitution has been made by Lim so far. Lim could have been jailed up to 15 years and fined on each count.

The general manager Martin Jansvik has left for Norway and was unable for an interview. In an email to ScandAsia he explains that the church is happy to have the case settled.

“This has been a sad case for the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Singapore. This verdict puts an end to a case that has stalled for a long time. Now our focus can be on being a social, cultural and spiritual meeting place for Norwegians and Swedes in Singapore.”


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