KOCHI: Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) CEO Manju Sara Rajan and exhibition officer Mariam Joseph have quit their posts, putting the country’s largest art exhibition, Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB), in crisis just eight months before the start of its fourth edition in December.
The resignations come amid allegations of financial mismanagement at the foundation.Despite several attempts, both Manju and Mariam were not available for comment. However, Manju told Samakalika Malayalam, the sister publication of Express, her contract with KBF ended last November and she has now decided not to continue in the post and submitted her resignation. March 28 was her last day as the CEO of KBF.
According to reports, the foundation’s statutory auditor Sridhar & Company has also withdrawn from the position.Manju was appointed CEO of KBF in November 2016 after serving as its communications director for around 10 months from February that year.
Reportedly, both Manju and KBF treasurer Bonny Thomas had raised serious charges of financial misappropriation at the KBF’s meeting in Mumbai last November. A detailed mail seeking comments to KBF president Bose Krishnamachari and secretary Riyas Komu did not elicit any response.KBF has been getting increased budgetary support from the government — Rs 8 crore allotted in the recent budget, up from Rs 7 crore allotted for the third edition.
An audit report by the Accountant General has revealed the state exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 5.60 crore due to inadmissible expenses and misuse of government funds by the KBF, Express had reported in February.The preliminary audit observations of the C&AG team in its first audit of the KBF pointed out various lapses and recommended the government to take urgent action to recover inadmissible expenditure of Rs 1.10 crore from the KBF.
Rs 5.60 crore
Loss suffered by the state exchequer due to alleged misuse of funds by KBF