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Migrant worker advocacy group Home suspends executive director after allegations she misappropriated its funds

SINGAPORE — The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) has suspended its executive director Deshi Gill following allegations that she had misappropriated funds from the migrant worker advocacy group.

A photograph of Ms Deshi Gill from the Facebook page of Home: Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics.

A photograph of Ms Deshi Gill from the Facebook page of Home: Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics.

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SINGAPORE — The Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home) has suspended its executive director Deshi Gill following allegations that she had misappropriated funds from the migrant worker advocacy group.

In a statement on its Facebook page on Tuesday (Jan 17), Home said that it believed there was a basis for suspected misconduct by Ms Deshi after its preliminary investigations. 

"The suspension was put in place for Home to conduct its internal inquiry," it added.

The organisation also said that it had notified the relevant authorities of the allegations and both its board and staff members will provide necessary information as part of any investigations to be carried out. 

"As the matter is now with the authorities, we are unable to comment further." 

In response to TODAY's queries, the police confirmed that a police report has been lodged and that investigations are ongoing.

Home declined comment when asked by TODAY how much of its funds had been allegedly misappropriated. 

Ms Deshi has been working with Home since 2017 and was appointed as its executive director in 2021.

In her LinkedIn social media profile, it was stated that she had been part of the CPA Australia programme. CPA stands for certified practising accountant. Her profile was no longer accessible on Tuesday afternoon.

Founded in 2004, Home is funded by donations and is an Institution of Public Character approved by the Commissioner of Charities, meaning that it is a tax-exempt charity.

The organisation provides support to migrant workers who are abused or exploited and it has been involved in several prominent advocacy initiatives.

For example, in 2018, Home approached defence counsel Anil Balchandani to represent Indonesian domestic worker Parti Liyani pro bono. Ms Parti had been accused of theft by her employer at the time, then Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong.

Although she was sentenced to 26 months' jail, she was acquitted by the High Court in 2020 following an appeal.

The high-profile case sparked public outcry, raising questions about how her trial was conducted and if there were issues with the evidence-gathering process.

In its statement, Home said that it is reviewing its governance controls to ensure "the rigour of (its) internal processes" to prevent such lapses from occurring again.  

The organisation thanked members of the public and donors, and said that its commitment to advance the migrant worker cause "remains unwavering".

"During this time, all our operations and services continue to function, and we will continue to strive to improve the well-being and dignity of migrant workers in Singapore." 

Ms Deshi declined comment when contacted by TODAY on Tuesday morning.

In its 2021 annual report, the latest report available on its website, Home said that it had received S$1.87 million that financial year through money raised, as well as income it received from grants and programmes. 

Its operating expenses for the 2021 financial year were about S$1.86 million.

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Migrant Workers misappropriation Deshi Gill

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