By Marlon Dale Ferreira –
The Bishop of Jaffna Rt.Rev. Daniel Thiagarajah, the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India’s chief overseer of the Green Memorial Hospital Manipay established in 1848, revealed that he is saddened and more so disappointed that funds raised and collected by the UK registered charity ‘Friends of Manipay Hospital’(FOMH) through its much publicized cycle rides conducted by ‘Riders4Charity’ in 2017 and 2018 and ‘Ride4Ceylon’ in 2019,2020,2021 and 2022 totaling over UK Sterling Pounds 200,000 was never received by them, despite being the intended recipient of the funds.
It is also alleged that various other donations made in cash and kind, collected in the name of Green Memorial Hospital too were never received.
Expressing his concerns as to how a Charity that was created by Bishop Rt.Rev. Subramaniam Jebanesan in 2004 and who himself named a quartet of Trustees based on pure trust to help restore the 174 year old historic Green Memorial Hospital (GMH) have allegedly embroiled themselves in hoodwinking donors and the hospital alike in a web of deceit.
It now appears that the trust placed in certain individuals by Bishop S. Jebanesan to help restore the historic hospital built to provide medical support to the public for free since 1948 by Dr.Samuel Green has got lost somewhere along the way.
This has not only ruined friendships between individuals fostered over the years, but also gone onto strain even the strong bonds shared between its very own family members who are currently fighting a legal battle in the UK.
Worse still, another legal battle is destined to be argued in courts between the Trustees and the Christian Clergy who are part of the Medical Board of JDCSI appointed to protect the interest of the Green Memorial Hospital.
Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah speaks
Speaking exclusively to Colombo Telegraph Bishop Thiagarajah said “The Management of GMH Manipay has on several occasions requested the charity ‘Friends of Manipay Hospital’ to furnish all financial records, receipts and deposit slips of monies collected from all the conducted rides since 2017, but they have been evasive in doing so.”
The workings of the Charity which was named by Bishop Jebanesan as ‘Friends of Manipay Hospital’, was subsequently registered in the UK, as a Charity fundraiser by its appointed Trustees namely Dr. Jayantha Arnold, his brother Anandan or (Arnie) Arnold, Bo Cyrus Selvajayan Mills and Dr. Richard (Kirupa) Arnold.
The mandate dating back to 2004 by the then Bishop Jebanesan was to help restore the aged Green Memorial Hospital and not for the Charity ‘Friends of Manipay Hospital’ to run projects, collect funds from donors and retain the monies themselves.
It is believed that funds collected are banked into an account named the Institute of Medical Sciences which has been created by Dr. Jayantha Arnold himself in 2012, where incidentally even one of his own fellow Trustees namely Dr. Richard (Kirupa) Arnold went on to claim that he had no idea of until 2022, which was ten years later.
Incidentally Dr. Richard (Kirupa) Arnold is listed as a Trustee in the Annual Reports of Friends of Manipay Hospital for the years 2017, 2018 and who is subsequently highlighted as resigned on the 18.11.2019 according Annual Reports made available to the Charity Commission of England and Wales.
However, when Dr. Richard (Kirupa) was contacted by Colombo Telegraph to seek clarification on this, he stated that he in fact had resigned as a Trustee in 2006 and has nothing to state further, regarding any dealings or decisions that have been made by the rest of the Trustees of the Charity Friends of Manipay Hospital.
Meanwhile, one of the other Trustees, Bo Cyrus Selvajayan Mills is also mentioned in the FOMH submitted Annual Report of 2020/ 2021, as Trustee who resigned on the 1st of July 2020.
An attempt to contact Trustee Bo Cyrus Selvarajan Mills to seek his clarification on this through email proved futile, as he has chosen not to respond as yet.
However, with two of the four Trustees out of the way, it leaves only the ‘Arnold Brothers’, Dr. Jayantha and Anandan, as the two key players running the affairs of the charity Friends of Manipay Hospital.
Speaking further Bishop Thiagarajah said “There is an appointed Management team that runs the affairs of the Hospital who decides on what restoration work needs to take place, when funds raised from charity events are donated to the hospital. The way things are happening now, the ‘Arnold Brothers’ hold onto all generated funds. It is true that they have completed a few projects within the hospital. But it is quite overbearing at times, as they seem to be making every effort to take control of the hospital. Who knows, their aim may be to even rename it as the ‘Arnold Memorial Hospital’ one day, that’s simply going by the way they are throwing their might around the hospital at present. This must stop. We have sought legal assistance to help us in this matter. We have considered severing all ties with them.”
“Cracks began to appear especially in the manner the Charity Friends of Manipay Hospital began doing things much against the original mandate that was laid out by Bishop Jebanesan.”
“For Instance, in 2012 Dr. Jayantha Arnold initiated a programme to assist with the training of nursing staff, which the Green Memorial Hospital has no direct involvement in whatsoever. He then created an Institute named the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), which he claims to be the convener of and verbally and on emails claims to have created it under the Charity Friends of Manipay Hospital’s Banner. This is not true.” Said Bishop Thiagarajah.
However it is clearly evident that there is no mention of the Charity Friends of Manipay Hospital anywhere on the website of the Institute of Medical Sciences, besides its objective that states “Objectives of the Institute of Medical Sciences are to provide training that will enable students to work in hospitals, long- term care facilities and to produce intellectual and professionally competent medical professionals.”
“The Arnold Brothers have also gone on to rent space within the hospital to run their personal Institute of Medical Sciences’ operations by signing a rental contract with Dr. Rev. Solomons, who is the Chairman of the Green Memorial Hospital’s Medical Board. This is against our constitution and should never have taken place. The rental of any property within the GMH premises has got to be approved by the Bishop of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI).” lamented Bishop Thiagarajah.
Dr. Jayantha Arnold incidentally rented the buildings for an unbelievable low sum and for a period of ten years, with a clause stating that a five-year notice period needs to be provided if either party is to end this contract.
With that box ticked the ‘Arnold Brothers’ soon commenced muscling their way around the hospital by completing certain development projects within the hospital with the funds they have generated, that technically belongs to the GMH.
The Controversial Charity Rides
The cycle rides commenced initially in 2017 and were conducted by an independent group of cyclists made up of a group of old boys from S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia who reside in the UK. They were joined by many of their former classmates and friends who rode the entire journey from Colombo to Jaffna.
These independent rides were in fact the mere vehicle that the Charity FOMH used to generate funds for GMH.
One of the main organizer’s from among the cyclists in the UK was Michael Arnold, who is the brother of former Sri Lankan cricketer Russel Arnold.
However, after the first two rides in 2017 and 2018 the cyclists of the independent group Riders4Charity, decided to sever all ties with the Charity FOMH, as several disputes arose.
However perhaps not many donors or even the riders for that matter knew that the generated funds from the cycle rides were being retained by the Trustees of FOMH and were not handed over to the ride’s intended recipient, the Green Memorial Hospital.
One disappointed rider who took part in several of the charity rides speaking to Colombo Telegraph said “I didn’t have the foggiest idea that all the funds collected through our blood, sweat and tears for the Green Memorial Hospital was in fact being channeled into the bank account of the Institute of Medical Sciences. Furthermore, when we reached our final destination and cycled into the Green Memorial Hospital, never did we know that we were in fact riding to the Institute of Medical Sciences which is located inside the Green Memorial Hospital. It was a hogwash to be honest.”
After the first two rides in 2017 and 2018 were over, the birth of Ride4Ceylon was formed, when Michael Arnold registered its name and logo and the subsequent rides in 2019 and 2020 took place with a new set of riders making the ride from Colombo to Jaffna to raise funds in aid of the Green Memorial Hospital.
Shortly thereafter disputes arose yet again, when the FOMH ended up filing a case in the UK against Michael Arnold, claiming that the registration and logo of Ride4Ceylon belongs to them.
Green Memorial Hospital Informs charity to stop using their name to collect funds for 2022 ride
However, come 2022 and alarm bells soon began to ring just two months prior to the scheduled ‘Ride 4Ceylon’ ride, when the Green Memorial Hospital provided clear instructions to Dr. Jayantha Arnold that no funds were to be collected on behalf of the Green Memorial Hospital until clarification was made regarding the monies that had been collected over the years on behalf of the hospital.
Dr. Jayantha Arnold thereafter decided to inform David Rasiah (whom he considers as the engine that drives the Ride4Ceylon project) to in turn inform all the riders and donors alike, that the funds collected from the Ride4Ceylon 2022 event, is going to be donated to the ‘Institute of Medical Sciences’ instead.
Interestingly, barely four days prior to the ride Dr. Jayantha Arnold was captured on camera at the gala press briefing held at the Jetwing Hotel Colombo, informing the audience in attendance that the funds raised from the ride were to be used for the Green Memorial Hospital.
This was the very instruction from the Management of Green Memorial Hospital that he was instructed not to do.
This speech made by Dr. Jayantha Arnold went on to mislead both riders and donors alike to believe that their efforts and generosity was being put to good use.
However, what was further shocking to discover was that immediately after the Ride4Ceylon’s 2022 ride, David Rasiah went on to post a comment on his Facebook page which read “So the Ride4Ceylon charity cycle ride 2022 in aid of Green Memorial Hospital, Manipay is now done! We want to extend a huge thank you to all the local and overseas riders, helpers & Police/Highway Petrol who joined R4C this year. It was quite an effort! Together, and thanks to your generosity, we raised over £35,000 (approx. Rs. 10 Million) in cash and goods for the whole hospital. You can still donate via the Justgiving link, but most of all thanks so much for digging so deep. You’ve been a massive part of something special. Thank you!”
So finally, who really pocketed the collected funds of over £35,000 that David Rasiah claims to have been collected from the 2022 charity ride? cos’ till to date the Green Memorial Hospital claims that even those funds collected in their name, despite providing clear instructions to not abuse their good name were never received.
Charity registered in UK
It can be further revealed that as the Friends of Manipay Hospital is a registered charity in the UK, its audited accounts need to be submitted annually.
A cross reference on the website of the Charity Commission of England and Wales indicates the charity Friends of Manipay Hospital is listed bearing number 1113439 and Company No. 05483859 and its Charity’s overview states “Help restore the Manipay Green Memorial Hospital and bring it back to a fully functional level.”
Browsing through the Friends of Manipay Hospital website, it states that its accounts have been audited by a company named BBK Partnership Chartered Accounts in the UK.
However, what’s more alarming is that the website of FOMH’s independent auditor BBK Partnership Chartered Accountants, reveals that Anandan Arnold is in fact directly involved in the firm.
This proves that even the accounts of the charity Friends of Manipay Hospital does in fact have its annual accounts audited by an accountancy firm, where one of its very own Trustees Anandan Arnold is directly involved prior to submitting the same to the Charity Commission of England and Wales.
Church in Batticaloa cries foul
Meanwhile Colombo Telegraph is also in possession of a letter sent by a Parish Priest from a Church in Batticaloa, who claims that funds collected by Friends of Manipay Hospital on behalf of a seven-year-old girl who was injured in the Easter Bombing in 2019 was never received.
This is a clear indication the ‘Friends of Manipay Hospital’ is in fact conducting fund collection for many other causes despite the original mandate that was provided by Bishop S. Jebanesan was to help restore the Green Memorial Hospital.
Ride4Ceylon trademark and logo dispute ends in UK court.
The charity Friends of Manipay Hospital has filed a case as the Plaintiff with Michael Arnold as the Defendant in the UK in 2021, with both parties claiming ownership of the registration and logo of Ride4Ceylon.
Michael Arnold claims that he did register the trademark Ride4Ceylon and its logo.
He has also indicated that he had no involvement with the two rides conducted in 2021 and 2022, where he states that Ride4Ceylon is an independent ride that would participate to help raise funds for any charity.
He further claims that his trademark Ride4Ceylon and logo was hijacked by the charity Friends of Manipay, who used it to raise funds for the Green Memorial Hospital in 2021 and again in 2022, where despite the same name Ride4Ceylon was used, it did so with a differently designed logo that looked similar to his original one.
Whilst browsing through the case file and its submitted documents in the UK, it became evident that the charity FOMH in its submission in 2021, stated that Bo Mills was a Trustee at the time the case was filed.
However, according to the charity Friends of Manipay Hospital’s submitted Annual Report dated 30th June 2021 to the Charity Commission of England and Wales, it states that Trustee Bo Mills had in fact resigned from FOMH on the 1st July 2020.
Similarly, there seems to be quite a collection of facts that do not tally when information is cross referenced against the charity FOMH’s documents filed in the courts in the UK, in Annual Reports submitted to the Charity Commission, on emails sent and on websites both in the UK and in Sri Lanka.
Ride4Ceylon’s Facebook page has also uploaded some interesting posts that have left even the officials of Green Memorial Hospital baffled.
For example, a post with pictures on the 1st of September 2021 states “Dr. Sridharan helped secure a donation of Rs 640 million worth of medical supplies from doctors in the USA.”
Another post sees officials representing Ride4Ceylon donating ICU beds to the Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, which officials of Green Memorial Hospital state is completely against its original mandate. A quote in this regard posted states “The Ride4Ceylon together with Friends of Manipay Hospital, remain committed to helping the Sri Lankan people in their battle with the Covid-19 virus.”
Former Sri Lankan cricketer’s involvement
Incidentally both Dr. Jayantha Arnold and Arnie Arnold (who was also the CEO of the T20 cricket franchise Jaffna Stallions in its inaugural edition) happen to be the first cousins of the former Sri Lankan cricketer and current international cricket commentator Russell Arnold.
Russell Arnold was himself the Ride4Ceylon Brand Ambassador until quite recently.
When Colombo Telegraph contacted Russell Arnold for a quote he said “I chose to step forward and support Ride4Ceylon at the onset as my family members were directly involved with it. However, I subsequently decided to detach myself as its brand ambassador. Let’s say I did it for personal reasons.”
Colombo Telegraph can confirm that at the time of publishing this story, the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India’s Medical Board did inform Dr. Jayantha Arnold that they wish to sever all ties and cancel all contracts signed between both parties, effective 31st of December 2022. It could be further confirmed that Dr. Jayantha Arnold has responded to the JDCSI’s intimation in this regard.
Colombo Telegraph’s investigation continues.