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Memories Group says employees misappropriated US$500,000 from Myanmar unit

CATALIST-listed tourism player Memories Group has discovered a case of fraud at its wholly-owned Myanmar subsidiary, Asia Holidays Travels & Tours Company (AHTT), it said last Wednesday.

A sum of about US$500,000 was misappropriated from AHTT's accounts by three employees involved in its business and investigations are ongoing, it said.

Memories Group said it came into knowledge of the fraud when the finance manager responsible for AHTT conducted checks in February 2020 as part of its existing internal control procedures.

Since then, the employees concerned were immediately dismissed. A police report has also been lodged and the case is under investigation by the police in Myanmar. The suspects are currently held in custody and likely to be charged in court.

The group also commissioned a forensic audit and deployed its risk management and internal audit team to carry out further investigations on AHTT's accounts during its peak operating periods of May 2019 and September 2019 to January 2020.

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The audit concluded that overall, internal control procedures were in place, but could be further strengthened. "Measures are being taken to continuously strengthen these controls especially in the area of accounts payable," the group said.

The group is actively pursuing legal recourse to recover the misappropriated monies which will entail a civil lawsuit to be filed. Investigations are ongoing to determine the full duration of the fraud and the total amounts misappropriated. Shareholders will be updated on the total amount misappropriated once the investigations have concluded, it said.

Any impact of this misappropriation will be reflected in the financial statements of the group for the period ending Sept 30, 2020. 

Memories Group shares fell 0.5 Singapore cent or 13.16 per cent to S$0.033 on Friday.

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