Ohm Saravanabhavaya Namaha

Dear lord Balamurugan devotees,

You may wonder as to why I took long to respond to Mr. T Sriranjan’s (former Treasurer, SMS) letter dated 15/5/20 (Attachment – A).  Because of the unexpected additional responsibility with the compilation and completion of financials and managing temple activities in current pandemic situation, it took me much longer than I expected to respond to his email.

While I am not going to elaborate on his poor etiquette, I must point that his letter contained false, inaccurate, premature and misleading information, and his intended resignation by 30 June 2020 was without having any discussions with the Management Council (MC).  His letter was written intentionally to tarnish my reputation as the President of the SMS. If he is principled, he would have called for an MC meeting and discussed his issues rather than responding to an email (Attachment – B), by saying he is going to ‘issue a statement’ – only he knows the reasons behind it. Soon I received the public email, I urged him to clarify certain information which is yet to come (Attachment – C).

One member took this as an opportunity to get back into temple administration after losing the last election in 2017. His letter to some financial members (Attachment – D) details his intentions to overthrow the MC by appointing an interim MC to take over the affairs of the administration.

With lord’s grace and the unity and support within the MC, I was able to withstand all the turmoil created by some members and achieved our goals before the upcoming AGM on the 7/2/21.

I have outlined former Treasurer’s comments below with my responses:

Treasurer’s Letter 15/5/2020 Attachment – A)

President’s comments

  1. April 2020 Financials – income of $12,794

This was the stated reason for the former Treasurer to write to the members, where Mr. Kandiah had asked how the $12,794 was constituted.  There was a simple mistake on my part when I copy and paste his email, the third column containing the details of the 3 items (Government grant, donations & Pooja) was omitted due to spacing, but he used that as an excuse to tarnish my name.  In my view it is a simple error and could be corrected by requesting me to resend my letter.

  1. Loan by Dewastahnam to SMS – $488,953

While this loan was in place since 2012, only now action has been taken to clear the outstanding loan liabilities. Market rent was charged to DT for the use of SMS premises from 2015 to clear the liability.

The loan of $488,953 to Dewasthanam has now been fully cleared, and Consumer Protection has been notified.

  1. “Since July 2019, SMS repaid $264,848 to Dewasthanam for Kumbabishekam related expenses. This amount was facilitated by a bank loan of $194,585 and payment for building works amounting to $70,263.”

The bank loan of $194,585 was taken by the SMS and cannot be transferred to DT to pay out expenses. It’s against the taxation and DGR rules and general accounting principles. The $70,263 is the wages paid to 4 Sthapathies for building works and must be borne by the SMS [Correct Sthapathy payment as per his account is $76,135].

These items incorrectly documented by the previous treasurer were corrected in the final accounts accordingly.

  1. Current Bank loans & liability – $481,234

Bank loan: Paid off substantial amount to BankWest loan, after the previous treasurer left.  On 23/6/20, a sum of $284,844.34 was paid to settle the 3 loan accounts leaving only one Line of Credit loan with $199,000 debt.  As at 31 Dec 2020, this loan was further reduced to $88,000.

SMS liability: Attachment E provides a simple illustration of funds movements since 2012.

  1. 2020 Kumbabhisheham income and expenses

His statement of total expenses $578,441 wrongly includes some capital expenses which are part of the funding agreement at the time of his reporting. When the Grant money was received, these expenses were fully paid off. All other outstanding invoices (Ambal stores-$13,093 & Toilet improvements – $14,204) totaling $27,297 are all paid.

Please see Attachment F for Kumbabhisheham income/expense summary and Attachment G for Sriranjan’s financial position statement.  These items incorrectly documented by the previous treasurer were corrected in the final accounts accordingly.

  1. $45,000 liability towards Chariot’s donation, which is on the SMS’s book.

$45,000 liability towards Chariot’s donation was entered wrongly on SMS’s book.  A liability for the budgeted cost of the chariot cannot be recorded until the Chariot maker is invoiced SMS for what they have done. As at 30 June 2019, the invoiced amount (which has been paid) was $15,000, and the balance to be paid on completion is $45,000.

Accountant & Auditor had reversed this transaction in the current year financials by removing the liability from the balance sheet and recording it as a prior year entry adjustment to the profit and loss to correct this error.

  1. Current Ther liability – $55,000

Total cost of constructing the chariot is $60,000, of which $20,000 ($15,000 + $5,000 in 2019/20 financial year) was paid during Mr. Sri’s time, leaving a balance of $40,000 (not $55,000 as he reported).  Balance $40,000 payable on completion has been transferred to reduce the line of credit until the final payment is required. 

Former Treasurer’s monthly circulated accounts also shows only $40,000 is owed for Chariot, however he has stated in his letter to you that $55,000 to be paid.  No explanation was given to this additional $15,000. It makes me wonder as to why & how this inflated amount was shown in his letter to members.

Former Treasurer had wrongly recorded this $60,000 as income on SMS books in 2019/20. As it was a donation in 2018/19, the accountant and the Auditor reversed this transaction in the current year financials by payment to P/L as prior year adjustment, and it now rightfully appear under the SMS capital account.

  1. Working relationship between the President and Treasurer

Treasurer wanted to run the organisation on his own accord, and adamant in running the kitchen to gate closure without allowing other MC members. He never stuck to his protocol as treasurer.  He wanted to do things his way or no other way.

Upon receiving his letter via a third-party, MC decided to accept his premeditated resignation with immediate effect rather than waiting for another a month and a half.

He has stated that the President didn’t come out with any financial plans or cash flow planning to increase income, failing to realise that it was his responsibility as Treasurer.  It was the President who worked hard to obtain the grant on time before end of financial year 2020 to settle the loans and part of the liabilities.

Former Treasurer even went further by requesting the responsible Federal Government department to delay the release of the grant by 6 months until the balance projects were completed.  This would have catastrophically affected the financial position of the SMS.  Despite his intervention, I was able to resubmit a variation completion statement to satisfy the authorities and got approval for the release of the original amount of $250,000 though with two months delay.

  1. Working relationship – Job Keeper application

Due to the expiration of the contract on the 30/06/20, MC decided not to register the two priests for Job Keeper. MC has requested the former Treasurer to clarify the requirements with ATO before taking further action.  However, later MC came to know through CentreLink that he had applied for Job Seeker for the two priests without MC’s knowledge. 

Advice obtained through the Accountant is attached (Attachment – H). The basic requirement is that the religious practitioners should not be employed by the organisation.  In SMS case, the Priests are employed by SMS & DT work contract.

MC has managed to achieve below listed goals without any further borrowings while the Covid -19 restrictions were in place.

  1. Australian Government Department of Infrastructure Contract Manager responsible for Community Development Grants Program Kevin Hicky’s letter of approval and a letter to President congratulating the achievement in obtaining the $250,000 grant (Attachment I).
  2. Since former Treasurer’s departure, SMS Building loan was significantly reduced by$340,620 from $429,128 to $88,508.50 in the last 8 months.
  3. Dewasthanam Trust (DT) was registered with ACNC to fulfil current ATO requirements, and from 1/7/2020 DT became a registered Trust with new ABN.
  4. As per Consumer Protection’s request, SMS‘s debt of $488,953 to DT was cleared with back payment of rent.
  5. All outstanding invoices and payables up to 31 Dec 2020 have been cleared.

Former Treasurer was influenced by some vested interest to write his letter to a wider audience to create chaos within MC, tarnish the image of the SMS management and the Balamurugan Temple in general, and me personally with adverse comments to damage my reputation in the community. He also failed to support me as President on many occasions due to his own stubbornness and controlling behaviour.

He should have realised that in a cultural and religious organisation, our members are our assets. This may be partly because he had a freelance experience under previous positions within our organisation. Unfortunately, my leadership role doesn’t allow for this kind of behaviour. The MC also felt the same and supported me at the time of his resignation.

While I take the responsibility for all accounts during my presidency, particularly from 15 May 2020, the day former Treasurer Mr. Sriranjan resigned, I will request him to attend the AGM to answer any questions relating to the period prior to his resignation.

It’s time to move on, and as mentioned above, current liabilities including bank loan (line of credit) is only $88,508, and MC is determined to reduce it further before the AGM.

From this letter, every Balamurugan devotee should realise that the current MC has done more than any other previous MC has achieved by reducing the loan & SMS liabilities during its term especially even during severe covid-19 pandemic restrictions were in place.


As always at Lords service

Sabas Varagunanathan


Where Should I have the download links ?