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Singapore's Methodist bishop overpaid for five years

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Tuesday August 29, 2006

Singapore- The bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore was mistakenly overpaid for five years, the church said Wednesday. An internal review found Bishop Robert Solomon's pay and allowances totaled 946,000 Singapore dollars (606,410 US dollars) since he took office in January 2001.

The church's highest office bearer received nearly 372,000 Singapore dollars (238,000 US) more than what he should have.

The overpayment was an "honest mistake," The Straits Times quoted a church spokesman as saying.

The church is satisfied that no one was lining his "own pockets," he added.

Some members are still upset. An anonymous letter was circulated expressing unhappiness that the full sum has not yet been retrieved and that those responsible for the mistake were not asked to resign.

The bishop, 50, is in the process of repaying the extra money, used to finance such items as home utility bills and car expenses, according to a report by the church's General Conference Executive Council.

The review by more than 100 church leaders concluded that the bishop had been wrongly given a much higher pay package than he was entitled to receive.

A doctor by training, Solomon was re-elected in January 2005 to head the 33,000-member Methodist Church. It runs 16 primary and secondary schools in Singapore and has more than 40 churches.

The church said it was studying internal procedures to prevent such a mistake from recurring.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur