Anugraha – The International Subud Centre
Bapak Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo introduced the concept of a new project to be built in the UK. He looked upon England as the senior Subud country due to its role and influence spreading Subud across the world.
At Kenfield Hall near Canterbury UK, Bapak tested in the first members to be responsible for the design of the International Centre.
AMANCO was formed to implement the new project. Dell Park was purchased for the International Subud Centre.
Bapak initiated the work and requested the International Centre provide Headquarters for the Dewan of Helpers, emphasing the importance of their role in the future of Subud and after his death. As a result, the International Helpers were the first to have a permanent presence in the Centre.
10th August 1981 – Bapak laid the Foundation stone dedicating the building to the members of Subud.
Dell Park was renamed ‘Anugraha’ by Bapak, which means ‘An unexpected gift’. Anugraha was to be the flagship: the first of four International Centres, with plans afoot for Centres in Australia, Japan and the USA. Construction began – £Millions was raised across the Subud World. 3,000 members responded to the cathedral impulse.
14th August 1983 – Bapak unveiled the commerative stone and gave a talk.
October 12th 1983 – AMANCO Board reorganised, forming Anugraha Ltd, Anugraha Hotels Ltd, and Anugraha International NV. Registered Curaceo in the Netherlands Antilles.
The 7th World Subud Congress was held in the grounds of Anugraha.
The Board lost control of finances, placing the members of Subud in a multi-million pound crisis. The Directors were fined £12,000 by the DTI. The Directors were not found guilty of fraud or any criminal act. S Fravel MD was dealt with separately. Bapak sent Sharif Horthy to sort out the mess. Board 1 was ousted.
Sharif Horthy held many meetings, networked in a complex situation. Held discussions and negotiated. He raised funds, including from an Arabian Prince, international mailings, and unencumbered properties to which Lampard and Zys responded with their farms. He sent Andreas Zys around the country, promoting Anugraha. He organised the Salamantans celebrating Anugraha’s opening. He wrote and published an article ‘Why Do We Expect This To Be Easy’ in Subud World June 1984 Vol 3 No 3. He negotiated with the high investors who went onto form Board 2.
Muchtar Nankivell – Kedjiwaan Councillor – wrote an article ‘Anugraha, International Centre’ referring to a conversation with Sharif Horthy, who speaks about the tremendous forces surrounding Anugraha to stop it being completed. These forces were working through some people to do wrong things.
1st May 1984 – Anugraha Conference Centre, providing a high-class service, opened to its first client – The Danish Tourist Board – under the auspices of Board 2. Anugraha went on to successfully host some of the largest companies in the UK and Europe.
Board 2 concentrated on running the Conference Centre with professional staff and the financial situation. They did not welcome Subud members, who arrived despite their views. This caused problems between the professional staff and Subud. The staff grew to dislike Subud, due to members being inappropriately dressed, rudeness and gate-crashing private functions. Members wanted to see their Centre – after all it was theirs.
The Board eventually relented and allowed the odd infrequent latihan, giving members the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the Centre. The foundation stone laid by Bapak was covered at all times as apparently offended.
The Board felt that the financial situation had to have priority and it was too early for Subud events.
Board 2 presented its refinancing plan called ‘Chandler 2’. Its essence would have disadvantaged the smaller member Shareholders.
November 1985 – Susannah Zys’ short time as Director ends. She resigned under the dome of Anugraha from Board 2, objecting to the Chandler 2 proposal as it was not in the member/Shareholders interest.
Hamilton Hill Board failed and ousted at EGM as members voted against the Chandler 2 Plan, favouring the Pitman Plan presented by Luthfi O’Meagher and John Pitman, Licensed Practitioner of Insolvency. and a non-Subud member.
April Board 3 was formed with Luthfi O’Meagher as MD. Howard Loch Chairman, Keith Davies and Laurence Naun became Directors. John Pitman was appointed Financial Advisor. It was believed that Anugraha had been saved from the ‘jaws of hell’. Board members worked in harmony and great hope descended upon Anugraha that it was in the right hands.
Financial Situation – Board placed Anugraha under emergency status as they faced a financial tsunami.
Subud Usage – Board developed the International Centre – Held regular latihans and Subud International Events. Wings used Anugraha for their AGMs and meetings. International Helpers increased their work. Cultural events by SICA were organised. Subud paintings adorned the walls. Subud weekends, dinners, a ball and banquets were held. VIPs stayed and members also booked in. Andreas Zys was appointed co-ordinator for all Subud events to overcome the problems and relationship difficulties between the professional staff and Subud. He implemented professional procedures and the situation was quickly rectified to everyone’s satisfaction. The Board also produced Anugraha News and Luthfi requested the book ‘About Anugraha’ to be written
The Conference Centre worked, finding its place in the competitive world of conference centre business. The acoustics and facilities were constantly under review to meet the demanding expectations of the clientele. Good feedback was being received. The Music Festival was important as an investment for the future, allowing the professional staff the opportunity to assess Anugraha’s capability to hold music events in the future as other conferences centres did around the country. It cost £100,000 and was fully ratified by the Board. The Board re-organised the conference centre personnel, turning it into a lean efficient team.
Management of the Centre was extremely complex and demanding. The Board not only was grappling with an insolvent company, running a conference centre but had the huge difficult task of negotiating, responding and communicating with all levels of the Subud Organisation, Both members and officials and were extraordinarily demanding.
April 1986 – Subud Britain, as a major shareholder and responsible for the membership, placed Maksum Stafford to watch and brief what is happening at Anugraha and report to National Council.
Maksum went on to become a Director. He showed grave dislike for the MD, Luthfi O’Meagher. He spread unsound papers across the Organisation banned by the Board, and broke his Directorship Code of Conduct crossing the floor to join the Shareholders Representatives. Was asked to resign but refused and became very difficult. Wrote to the MD and in documents informing him that ‘we are getting rid of you’. Believed that MD received from Milton and the Classics and not from God. Finally, alongside others, he succeeded in ridding the Luthfi O’Meagher as MD at the AGM. Maksum Stafford eventually resigned as Director on February 27th 1989.
December 5th 1986 – Anugraha moved out of emergency situation. This now enabled the Board to move onto securing Anugraha forever. This question has never been answered: had the Board brought Anugraha into viability? If so, the actions of the illegal board/the Shareholder Representatives and the final Board are serious indeed
Cracks in the harmonious relationship between Howard Loch (Chairman) and the MD Luthfi O’Meagher, and Howard Loch and the Board became increasingly evident. Howard Loch attended ‘secret meetings’ at The Aurora Gardens Hotel owned by Travers-Smith; Howard Loch was the first to cross the floor, breaking his Directorship Code of Conduct
Andreas Zys finances the Anugraha kitchens,
Two Directors resign, leaving Howard Loch, Chairman, Luthfi O’Meagher MD, Keith Davies and Maksum Stafford
The Anugraha Shareholder Representatives were formed. They grew in influence and power with their own agenda. They challenged and questioned and harassed the Board as if holding it as hostage. Their aim appeared to get rid of the MD and bring down Board 3 to take possession of Anugraha. They acted as a Supervisory Board accepting the title of non-executive Directors. Their illegal status was referred to in documents but nothing was done. This ultimately divided the membership that still goes on today.
The Shareholder Representatives successfully got rid of the MD in four ways:
1) They maliciously spread falsehood telling the international membership of the great loss re: the Music Festival. This damaged the trust and respect that the membership had in the MD. There was no loss.
2) The actions of Maksum Stafford, who crossed the floor joining them as had Howard Loch had earlier.
3) Illegally, and against the International Helpers and others, tested the MD on 9th December 1988.
4) They spread misinformation across the organisation. None were qualified or had a CV to take on an insolvent company or run an international centre.
Andreas Zys offered his open chequebook to the MD to pay staff wages and bills when Anugraha was not able to, due to cash flow problems.
9th December 1988 – MD was put through 7 hours of testing with Helpers (acting against their International Helpers advice) and the Shareholder Representatives to discredit and get him. This proved to be a traumatic event for those who witnessed it. They appeared to act an unruly hyped-up gang mob. The Testing proved inconclusive so he lived another day.
Subud Congress Australia – A meeting between members and Shareholder Representatives took place. Adam Albright was involved in a serious physical assault. No action was taken.
February 20th 1989 – Luthfi O’Meagher removed as MD at the AGM.
Board 4 was established but No new MD was appointed. H Paice was appointed Chairman. Luthfi O’Meagher and John Pitman remained Directors to stabilise Anugraha after the drama of events. Travers-Smith was made Director and diverted both work and documents to his home. Correspondence that should have been dealt with by the Board was not. It also appears the Company Secretary and others were excluded from company information – no-one knew what he was up to.
Letter received from K Davies expressing concern re Board’s behaviour.
John Pitman warned that Anugraha will be lost if Shareholder Representatives continue with their behaviour.
‘They’ rejected the advice of John Pitman to sell at £16M to save the Shareholding.
March 1989 – Luthfi O’Meagher resigned, with Andreas Zys resigning a co-ordinator alongside, though he had not been in the building since the mobbing. He was totally opposed and distressed by the behaviour of Travers-Smith, the Representatives/illegal Board and those who supported.
John Pitman advised they sold at £14Million ‘They’ refused. John Pitman resigned April 3rd 1989.
16 £million sale was lost through actions of Travers Smith from self-interest.
October 1989 – Travers-Smith, after dismissing R Slape – General Manager – in a humiliating manner, became MD.
Howard Loch was reinstated as Chairman.
Concern was expressed for the vulnerable position R Prescott was being placed in.
Anugraha deteriorated, but continued to trade, though insolvent.
Members shock and concern was recorded in Subud Voice.
Anugraha goes into Receivership. We know there was substantial interest. Bids were invited. We know there was one strong bid and that Subud Britain was in meetings with Travers-Smith re: producing a bid, but do not know if these meetings realised a bid. No bids were accepted.
The Board falsified the DTI forms as to the reasons Anugraha failed. As a result, they committed fraud.
Moving and emotional stories emerged as members came into the realisation that they were losing their International Centre.
December Anugraha Hotels Ltd was sold in a job lot for £6.86 million to Dividehire Limited. Receivership was brought to a conclusion
No one brought to account. No Inquiry. No account for the money lost between £16M valuation and the sale price. Allegations that Albright, Simmonson and Travers-Smith held Anugraha back to obtain a tax benefit remain unanswered.
Following Anugraha’s Collapse:
- Hardship cases were ‘means tested’ and identified. Five houses were at grave risk.
- £2 million was promised to meet the needs of the Hardship and Houses.
- Sharif Horthy gave a public speech in Windsor. He stated that he had thoroughly investigated Anugraha and was satisfied no one had done anything wrong. ‘We simply made a mess of it’. All business relating to Anugraha was now closed.
- The £2M never arrived. Was it fraud, theft or malicious intent? No investigation or inquiry took place. The organisation simply ignored.
- The Banks moved in on the houses.
- The Organisation walked away and turned its back on its members who had courageously given so much. Turned its back on established Hardship and on those who risked their homes even to this day.
- The Organisation closed the company. The act of and the reasons given may not have been lawful.
How The Houses Were Saved
In order to overcome false memory and unacceptable bizarre opinion, a further website would be necessary to release the hundreds of documents to tell the factual story. Two important questions need to be answered before this can take place
1) Would there be sufficient interest to justify cost.
2) Where would the money come from to finance the project?
It has taken along time for the TRUTH to emerge.
It must never happen again. Every effort must be taken to ensure that members are given the facts and truth. That members will never be treated as we have been and their future welfare and protection remains paramount and assured.
Information about Anugraha obtained from:
Subud World News 1981- 1984
Subud World 1981 – 1984
The Story of Anugraha explanation of Bapaks talks 1982