Singapore

Trial of City Harvest leaders resumes

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho arriving outside the court. Photo: Alvin Chong
Ex-City Harvest Finance manager Serina Wee (left) arriving at court. Photo: Alvin Chong
Ex-City Harvest Finance manager Serina Wee (left) arriving at court. Photo: Alvin Chong
City Harvest senior leader Sharon Tan (centre) arriving at court. Photo: Alvin Chong
Photo: Alvin Chong
Published: August 26, 8:59 AM

SINGAPORE — The trial of six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders, accused of allegedly misusing millions in church funds, resumed this morning (Aug 26) with Xtron Productions director Choong Kar Weng taking the stand as the prosecution’s fourth witness.

Mr Choong, who has been Xtron director since Dec 31, 2005, was also a church board member between 1999 and 2004. He is based in Malaysia but is a Singapore permanent resident.

The six CHC leaders charged are Kong Hee, Lam Leng Hung, Tan Ye Peng, Tan Shao Yuen Sharon, Chew Eng Han and Serina Wee Gek Yin.

They allegedly used S$24 million from the church building fund for sham bond investments, and then allegedly misappropriated another S$26.6 million of church funds in the guise of redeeming the bogus bonds in Xtron.

Xtron provided audio visual services to the church and also managed the music career of Ms Ho Yeow Sun — the wife of senior pastor and CHC co-founder Kong Hee, one of the six on trial — from 2003 to 2008.

The company is now being wound up, a decision Mr Choong made with a former director, Mr Koh Siow Ngea.

As during the first tranche of the trial, the prosecution tried to show that Xtron was controlled by the church. It presented the minutes of an Xtron meeting dated Dec 29, 2006, attended by seven people, four of whom were from the church and not officially linked with Xtron.

Among the items discussed at the meeting was the search for a person to run Xtron and church employee Suraj was listed as a member of the Xtron team.

Mr Choong, who was not at the meeting, said major decisions made have to be approved by him and Mr Koh.

He added that Mr Suraj helped him with some matters at Xtron as they are longtime friends and Mr Choong trusted Mr Suraj. He did not feel there was a conflict of interest in having Mr Suraj help at Xtron.