STUNNED members of The British Club of Bahrain are reeling from the alleged theft of a significant amount of cash – believed to be a five-figure sum – and police have been called in to investigate and lawyers appointed in an attempt to recover the missing money.
A member of staff has been ‘suspended’ as enquiries continue following an incident being uncovered on January 17 and in the after-shock David Endall resigned from his post as general manager ‘due to health reasons’ and returned to the UK on February 1.
The club’s 10-strong committee and membership are still reeling and admit the whole affair has been ‘a terrible shock’. Chris Woodrow, the club’s chairman, told GulfWeekly: “Yes, what is unfortunate, and bitterly disappointing, is that a sum of cash has gone missing from the British Club.
“As the club is always totally transparent to our membership, the executive committee has so far sent out two statements, keeping everyone as up-to-date as our attorneys will allow while there is a public prosecution / CID investigation ongoing.”
The committee, however, has been instructed by its legal advisers not to be specific about the actual amount involved. A statement released to members on Monday read: “On 17th January 2019, we identified that a sum of cash had gone missing from the club.
“The prime suspect, a member of staff, was quickly identified and immediately suspended. Both the police and our attorneys were notified the same day, the matter has subsequently been referred to Manama CID.
“A criminal case was quickly filed in the Urgent Court by our attorneys, who are handling the matter with public prosecution with the support of both staff and the executive committee.
“Internal administrative investigations have also been carried out, in line with the laws of the Kingdom of Bahrain and official statements put on record.
“Our insurers have been notified and a claim filed.
“I have already met with all the senior club staff and all supervisors at this difficult time, to reassure and thank them, as always all of our loyal staff team are doing a great job.
“We have reviewed and put in place additional cash-handling procedure controls. Once there are further developments, that do not jeopardise the ongoing investigations, we will notify the membership accordingly.”
It was also stated that the club remained in a ‘very strong financial position’, regardless, but the executive committee’s aim was to recover as much of the alleged stolen cash as possible and to call for the ‘maximum custodial sentence’ for anyone proved to be involved and found guilty in a court of law.
Chris, a project director, took over the hot-seat in December 2015 from Andrew Savage who was chairman for eight years.
The British Club of Bahrain’s membership is more than 1,600 and in recent years it has invested heavily in upgrading facilities.
It has received several accolades over the years. The club was announced as ‘The World’s Best British Social Club’ in 2010 by the judges of The Best of British Awards, run by The Telegraph, a leading British publication and website.
The club, which opened in 1935, was described by its many fans as ‘a social and recreational oasis … a five-star family club catering for everyone from one to 91 … a second home’.
Membership of the club is available for UK citizens, GCC nationals and nationals of other countries who don’t have their own national clubs in Bahrain. The percentages of each of the categories are controlled in agreement with the Ministry for Labour & Social Development.
Applications for membership are subject to approval by the executive committee, which generally meets twice per month.
An annual family membership is BD260 and a single membership BD185. In an earlier statement, members were told that although the alleged theft was ‘a very serious matter’, it in no way affects the day-to-day operations of the club.
One member, who asked not to be named, said: “Everyone is talking about it – we’re totally stunned.
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