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City Harvest trial: Serina Wee’s Xtron role examined

Prosecutors question production company director Choong about decisions made by ex-CHC finance manager Serina Wee for Xtron

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SINGAPORE — Prosecutors today (Aug 27) continued their examination of a production company they say was controlled by City Harvest Church (CHC), in the trial of six CHC leaders — one of whom is no longer with church. Xtron Productions director Choong Kar Weng took the stand for the second day with prosecutors questioning him about the capacity in which one of the accused, Serina Wee Gek Yin, was making decisions for Xtron, and the disclosure of financial transactions of the church to its executive members. Wee is on trial with church co-founder Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han, John Lam Leng Hung and Sharon Tan Shao Yuen. They are accused of criminal breach of trust and/or falsification of accounts for allegedly misappropriating S$24 million of church funds into sham bonds and another S$26.6 million to cover up the first amount. As with during the first tranche of the trial in May, the prosecution tried to show that Xtron was controlled by CHC. Mr Choong, 41, told the court that he was not very concerned which party Wee was working for when she made bond drawdown decisions for Xtron. He said he trusted her and believed she would not do anything detrimental to Xtron. Wee was Xtron’s accountant from late 2007. The prosecution showed minutes of a church extraordinary general meeting on Aug 10, 2008, that reported that executive members were told S$18.2 million of bonds were issued by Xtron for the purchase of the Riverwalk commercial building near Boat Quay. Mr Choong said he did not know why this was so, as only S$8.5 million of bonds were issued. The prosecution also produced emails among Wee, Tan Ye Peng and Chew discussing whether they could describe Xtron as being under the church’s control. Another email showed Wee telling Tan Ye Peng and Chew in 2010 how she could not disclose to a church member that a bank loan was taken to partially finance Xtron’s purchase of Riverwalk. Mr Choong said he did not see any reason why this could not be disclosed. The trial continues.

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