The Straits Times writes,
It asks that 4 leaders be jailed 11 to 12 years each; sentencing could be as early as Friday
Channel NewsAsia reports:
“I will therefore be preparing to file an appeal against both my conviction and sentence,” said City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee, who has been sentenced to eight years’ jail for criminal breach of trust.
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee (C) arrives at court for his sentencing hearing on Nov 20, 2015 in Singapore. The founder of the church was found guilty of misappropriating about US$35 million in donations to support his wife’s singing career in Asia. (Photo: AP/Joseph Nair)
SINGAPORE: City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee is preparing to file an appeal against both his conviction and sentence, he announced on Friday (Nov 27).
“Whilst I respect the Court’s decision, there are points which appear to be erroneous and warrant appeal. I will therefore be preparing to file an appeal against both my conviction and sentence,” he said in a Facebook post.
Kong was one of six City Harvest leaders in the recent trial, where he was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for criminal breach of trust. The six were found guilty of misappropriating S$50 million of church funds.
Earlier on Friday, the prosecution filed an appeal against the sentences for the six people convicted, which the prosecution called “manifestly inadequate”.
“My lawyers will also address the prosecution’s appeal at the appropriate time,” wrote Kong.
Source: Channel NewsAsia, City Harvest trial: Kong Hee to appeal to conviction and sentence, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/city-harvest-trial-kong/2299228.html Published 27/11/2015. (Accessed 27/11/2015.)
Despite C3 Church being involved in various scandals and cover-ups over the years, the Premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird and the Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force, Andrew Scipione continue to share a platform with Phil Pringle.
To this day, Phil Pringle still:
while taking advantage of the credibility of Andrew Scipione and Mike Baird.
Phil Pringle writes,
philpringle Great #c3Pathfinders full house breakfast with both NSW Premier @mikebairdmp & Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione sharing about leadership, family & their faith. #newdayleaders #C3churchhub
Source: Phil Pringle, Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/-hlBZFNP8D/, Accessed 26/11/2015.
Since its inception, the C3 movement has been heavily involved in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) cult and has heavily pushed its agenda around Australian churches. Very similar to a Masonic society, a trait of the NAR is their “organic” networks, one aspect being the Seven Mountain Mandate (7MM). (Kong Hee calls this the seven pillars of society and the cultural mandate.)
The 7MM is all about infiltrating what they call the “market place.” To infiltrate society (to take the city for God), the NAR and C3 teaches that Christians need to conquer the seven mountains of society: Art/Entertainment, Business, Church/Religion, Dissemination/News, Education, Family/Health, Government/Law.
This explains Elise Boggs comment below on Phil Pringle’s instagram:
We speculate that the reason why Phil Pringle had both Baird and Scipione speaking was to demonstrate to his movement that C3 are making “Christian” inroads into the Government/Law mountain in their “marketplace ministry.”
While PathFinders will not specifically teach the 7MM to those who attend, C3 appears to be moulding its members to conform to the philosophies and pagan teachings of the NAR, specifically through its Bible (The Church mountain) and Arts colleges (Arts/Entertainment mountain).
The Seven Mountain Mandate cannot be supported by scripture as it’s an unbiblical system developed by Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham back in 1975. They both claim that God spoke to them.
There is a good chance that Andrew Scipione and Mike Baird may have been accidentally indoctrinated by Hillsong or C3 who have been pushing this anti-Christian, totalitarian doctrine for decades.
It is our hope and prayer that Scipione and Baird are not hoodwinked by these cults and instead start investigating them.
A CRIMINAL IN THE EYES OF GOD
When Jesus warned his disciples to watch out for wolves disguised as shepherds (pastors), he wasn’t suggesting they were misguided men. On judgment day, Jesus called the ἀνομίαν out for what they were in this life.
Consider how different translations try to convey the word ἀνομίαν (anomian) in the Greek:
‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (NIV)
‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ (NLT)
‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (ESV)
‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (BSB)
‘I never knew you; depart you from Me, those working lawlessness.’ (BLB)
‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (NASB)
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJB
I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’ (HCSB)
‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who practice evil!'” (ISV)
Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’ (NETB)
The word “criminal” comes to mind. And it makes sense considering the false teachers in Jesus days illegally usurped the Levitical priesthood, invented their own manmade traditions in the name of YHWH (Mark 7:3) and were a law unto themselves. Jesus continually called out their hypocrisy and crimes in his ministry.
You could say that Jesus Christ preached both the law and the gospel, exposed and persecuted the lawless, tried to convict them of their sins and call them to repent just like he did everyone else.
And now Kong Hee of City Harvest Church, who has been exposed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing because of his blasphemous and heretical teachings, has also been convicted as a criminal. You CANNOT separate the two.
An unrepentant criminal in the pastoral office can only be a false teacher. An unrepentant false teacher in the pastoral office can only be a criminal. Why? Because they are not regenerate or “bearing fruit in keeping with repentance”. Therefore, they are not qualified or trained to rightly handle God’s Law & Gospel correctly and will insist what they are teaching is right, using another standard as their authority to bring everyone in line.
And usually that standard is a lie.
The lie that is still being thrown around by these lawless ministers is that Kong Hee is being persecuted for preaching the gospel. We tackle this deceptive propaganda by Phil Pringle and Kong Hee in this article here:
If God is fighting for the Christian, the one’s against the Christian are the false teachers. And when it has been publicly exposed that Kong Hee and Phil Pringle have been lying to Christians and financially ripping them off to live the high life, God’s actual enemy is Phil Pringle and Kong Hee.
They are the lawless ones – and the courts of Singapore proved this.
And God commands that we “purge the wicked ones from among us.” (1 Cor 5.) So if God is commanding us to stand in love (for true love rejoices in the truth), then the Christian thing to do is to expel these criminals from behind the pulpit in Jesus’ name. Otherwise if we don’t, we are not showing that we love God at all.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” – Jesus, John 14:15
PRINGLE SLANDERS THE APOSTLE PETER
In Phil Pringle’s ‘Persecuted’ article, we would like to alert our readers to his slanderous teaching against the Apostle Peter: “The Apostle Peter says, don’t be surprised when people criticise you for your faith.” Pringle is lying by ommission. Peter did not exactly say that. (We will read what he says in context down lower.)
That’s all you get from Peter the Apostle. However, by using that, Phil Pringle twists the Apostle’s words to teach that “Satan has been attacking God through His people ever since.”
No – Satan only “has been attacking God” through “false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.”
That “false apostle” and “deceitful worker” would be you Phil Pringle.
God Himself points His finger at you through the writings of the Apostle Paul and says, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
Your false prophecies, sins, cover-ups and refusal to repent are on record and the whole world is watching you use the Word of God to justify your sins and your crimes before God.
Pringle also writes,
“There has always been a dark, sinister, yet invisible and well-camouflaged hater of people connected to Christ.”
They are called false teachers Phil Pringle. What you are writing is proving this case all too well.
“The motivation behind all the persecution is a malignant evil spirit that cannot help itself but seek to destroy anything that has the scent of Christ. It is the spirit of anti-Christ.”
Again Phil, you are the proof. Since starting the C3 Church Watch and CHC Church Watch sites, we’ve only encouraged people to stand on the Word of God. You’ve decided to stand with your best friend Kong Hee. Now you’re asking Christians to stand beside a “thief,” “criminal” and “meddler.”
And you accuse Christians of “persecuting” you?
Since you attacked God and His Apostle Peter, we will let Peter finish off what he was trying to say:
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16 (Emphasis added)
Phil Pringle writes,
In our last week of the series ‘The Beautiful Attitudes’ we look at how we will always come up against criticism and persecution and how we should respond to this through the teachings of Jesus.
The Apostle Peter says, don’t be surprised when people criticise you for your faith. Persecution is not something that is alien to the Christian life. God declared war on Satan after the Fall of man (Gen 3:15), and Satan has been attacking God through His people ever since. Christians are “strangers and pilgrims” in an alien world where Satan is the god and prince (John 14:30; 2 Cor 4:3-4). Whatever glorifies God will anger the enemy, and he will attack. For believers, persecution is not a strange thing. The absence of satanic opposition would be strange!
If you are without some kind of persecution or opposition it could be an indicator that you are not having much effect against the darkness in our world. Some of you wish you were not having so much effect. One of the signs that you are standing for something worthwhile is that it will be opposed. We are trying to do the right thing in a world hell bent on doing the wrong thing. We are going against the tide of feeling in the world. What we stand for will be mocked, criticized and opposed.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
There has always been a dark, sinister, yet invisible and well-camouflaged hater of people connected to Christ. The motivation behind all the persecution is a malignant evil spirit that cannot help itself but seek to destroy anything that has the scent of Christ. It is the spirit of anti-Christ. God’s people have never been immune from opposition, persecution. The very first record in Scripture was Abel, who was killed by his brother Cain, because of his righteousness. His brother was also religious but was wanting to do religion his way, not God’s. This has always been a mystifying fact, that some of the most monstrous enemies of Christians have been religious people, claiming they are doing God’s work.
Persecution takes on many forms, from very public oppositions with dire results all the way through to mere unfounded, unnecessary criticisms at the office. Persecution can be invisible pressure coming upon you for no reason at all, temptations, spiritual oppression warfare in your mind and emotions. Persecution can come through relationships both close and far, family, friends, associates.
But let me say this, when acceptance and respectability come to the church, she will die. This is not said so we seek to irritate the world around us or attack them. But as you simply live out the life of following Christ you will not be able to escape the inevitable evil opposition of the religious people, evil spirited people intent on opposing all you stand for. Yet rejoice said Jesus, because He has overcome the world. We will live in victory in spite of the fact that we are under pressure.
When you step out to obey God, all hell will break loose against you. When you decide to help build the church, to be a connect-group leader, to volunteer, to become a Vision Builder and give above your tithes to the Vision, you will enter into a spiritual warfare that seems completely out of proportion to the level of what you have so far accomplished. The devil is the patron of overkill. But it’s because he recognises the power of one persons influence. To kill every child under two in the nation seems like overkill, but Moses lived and delivered 3 million slaves and destroyed a God hating nation, birthing a God loving nation with laws that the entire civilised world has based their society upon. Moses became the greatest hero of antiquity. We need to recognise this reality so we understand whom our warfare is with. It is not with people, but with spiritual evil (Eph 6:12).
We have named this series ‘The Beautiful Attitudes’ obviously a play on the words ‘The Beatitudes’. Yet the condition for this kind of opposition to happen is because of the Christ centeredness of believers. You are not going to be opposed if Christ is not the center of your life and activity. You will not be opposed if you are merely religious and not empowered by the Holy Spirit. The word Christ means ‘anointed’. The anti Christ spirit doesn’t seem to bother religious people who are not filled with the Holy Spirit, but once the people of God become empowered with the great Holy Spirit of God, the anointing, then that demon reacts.
However, it is not just the fact that we are persecuted that we are blessed but also because of our response to that persecution.
Matt 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
Here is the key of what Jesus was speaking to. He said we are blessed, not cursed when people say all manner of things against us falsely. We inherit the blessing when we respond with the love of God.
1 Peter 3:9 Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
A little later on in this verse Peter says to not avenge yourself. Leave it to God, because He has said ‘Vengeance is Mine’. I have experienced this first hand many times, when I have been tempted to take matters into my own hands, but then what I have instead, forgiven them, blessed them and left it to the Lord, they certainly have discovered the Lord looks after His own.
Today I want you to let go any desire for revenge you have towards people who have hurt you, opposed you, hated you, said things against you falsely, used you, lied about you and done you wrong.
Pray for them.
Thanks for following along with our series on the Beatitudes. If you need to catch up on any of my previous messages on this click this link here to check them out. If you’d like to read some of my leadership teaching, be sure to check out my blog posts on LinkedIn.
See you in church!
Source: By Phil Pringle, Persecuted, PhilPringle.com, http://philpringle.com/blog-/persecuted, Persecuted, Published 26/10/2015. (Accessed 25/11/2015.)
NOTE: SCREEN GRAB TAKEN 25/11/2015.
Channel News Asia has been continually reporting the unfolding of events in the Singapore courts of the sentencing of six City Harvest Church leaders.
The judge has sentenced Kong Hee eight years jail in prison.
This is the latest update:
City Harvest trial live updates: Leaders sentenced to jail
SINGAPORE: The six City Harvest leaders who were found guilty of criminal breach of trust and falsifying church accounts were on Friday (Nov 20) received jail terms of between 21 months and eight years.
3.00pm: The six leaders have been sentenced to between 21 months’ and eight years’ jail, with senior pastor Kong Hee receiving the heaviest sentence of eight years behind bars. Judge See Kee Oon said Kong Hee, the church’s founder, was found to be the most culpable among the convicted church leaders.
The bail for all six of them was extended, and the start of their jail terms have been deferred to Jan 11, 2016.
1.57pm: “For us ex-members we’ll leave it to the judge. We have to respect the Honour’s decision. As what the prosecutor says, we need to do it right now because it will have a great repercussion on other mega churches on what and what cannot be done,” said a man who identified himself as a former City Harvest member.
1.32pm: Judge says he will pass the sentence at 3pm.
1.28pm: Prosecution: “In pursuing the Crossover Project, the accused have clearly crossed so far over the line that a substantial sentence is certainly called for.”
1.04pm: Prosecution: “This Court has found that loans were sought from a number of individuals in order for Xtron to return the ARLA (Advance Rental Licence Agreement) to CHC… Tan Ye Peng sold his house to pay back. Well, the alternative was to come to court and admit what he has done.”
12.55pm: Prosecution: “We submit that nothing in their circumstances will render the “clang of the prison gates” so thunderous as to justify a short term of imprisonment.”
12.48pm: Prosecution: “Where an offence involves a breach of trust, this is generally treated as an aggravating factor. Its powerful influence is shown by the degree to which it
outweighs factors which would normally go in mitigation. Indeed, there is the paradox that some of the strongest factors in mitigation (unblemished career, model citizen, good employment record) are often present in these cases and yet do not tell greatly in the offender’s favour.”
“The reason is that positions of trust are not normally given to individuals unless they have unblemished references, and so the offence may be seen as a betrayal of those very basis of trust, and one of the burdens of a position of trust is an undertaking of incorruptibility.”
12.39pm: Prosecution: “As this Court has observed, each of the accused persons played their respective roles in a conspiracy with intent to cause wrongful loss to CHC and to defraud the auditors.”
“They did not merely wait passively for Kong Hee to instruct them to carry out each specific act and deception needed to drive the conspiracy forward. They took their own initiative to deceive and mislead the trusting members of CHC where necessary, and cannot escape responsibility for those acts.”
12.34pm: Prosecution: “Kong Hee intentionally fostered an organisational culture of
unquestioning trust in relation to the Crossover Project. He did so by capitalising on CHC’s collective fear of external attack in the wake of the Roland Poon incident, convincing members that they ought to simply trust CHC’s leaders to manage the Project without questioning their motives or reasons.”
12.27pm: Prosecution: “The criminal breach of trust offences which the accused persons committed involve the largest amount of charity funds ever misappropriated in Singapore’s legal history.”
“This long-running case involving criminal breach of trust by the most senior managers of a charity has clearly attracted public disquiet, and inevitably affects public confidence that funds donated for charitable purposes, especially to large and well-resourced charities, are managed honestly and properly safeguarded.”
12.11pm: Lawyer Andre Maniam said: “Serina Wee was not a parish priest commanding respect. Until she was charged, most of Singapore did not know who she was.”
“The accused believed it (the usage of the funds) was for an evangelistic purpose that was positively mandated by the vision and mission of CHC.”
11.55am: Serina Wee’s lawyer Andre Maniam said: “This is an unprecedented case. Neither the prosecution nor the defence has been able to turn up a precedent when Criminal Breach of Trust was committed by using a charity’s funds for its own purposes. We are in uncharted waters.”
11.17am: Lawyer N Sreenivasan: “Insofar as personal relationships are concerned, Tan Ye Peng’s former close relationship with Chew Eng Han has been affected. He feels sorry for what happened to Sharon and Serina.”
“He is not, he is not a participant in the heist of the century or other emotional words the prosecution has used.”
Source: ByCity Harvest trial live updates: Leaders sentenced to jail Published 20/11/2015 07:48, UPDATED: 20/11/2015 15:50. (Accessed 20/11/2015.)
Chris Rosebrough from Fighting for the Faith recently interviewed Kerri Ferguson on his radio program. If you are not familiar with who Kerri Ferguson is we encourage viewers to read what we have covered on the C3 Penrith scandal so far:
C3 Parramatta Scandal Part 1
C3 Parramatta Scandal Part 2 – The cover-up Scandal that Pringle refused to deal with
C3 Parramatta Scandal Part 3 – Sex, Money, Power
C3 Parramatta Scandal Part 4 – C3 regards pastors gambling worse than pastors defending a pedophile
C3 Parramatta Scandal Part 5 – Phil Pringle’s leadership: an unresolved mess
C3 Parramatta Scandal Part 6 – C3 prophetically manipulating the abused into silence
C3 Parramatta Scandal Part 7 – Letter exposing Pringle covering up paedophilia refusing to help victim
This is footage we have had for a number of years, exposing the cover up of pedophilia in the Australian Christian City Church movement. To this day, NONE of the “pastors” Kerri Ferguson went to for help have EVER bothered checking up on her or apologized for how they refused to help her in her time of need. These “pastors” are Phil Pringle, Brian Houston, Ian Treacy, and Gary Dench.
Click here to listen to the Fighting for the Faith Episode: Interview with Kerri Ferguson.
Interview with Kerri Ferguson
• Interview with Kerri Ferguson
Source: By Chris Rosebrough, Interview with Kerri Ferguson, Fighting for the Faith, http://www.piratechristian.com/fightingforthefaith/2015/11/interview-with-kerri-ferguson, Published 12/11/2015. (Accessed 12/11/2015.)
In Australia, some people consider paedophilia to be worse than murder. Don’t forget these “Pastors” faces that allowed these crimes to continue in the name of “Jesus.”
If they can get away with covering up paedophilia… then nothing can stop them. These men are before the Royal Commission. Yet Brian Houston and Phil Pringle are influencing our political leaders.
I am a current City Harvest Church (CHC) member and still in my teens. I do feel anxious and am unsure why I feel this way. To be honest, I do not want to attend CHC and am aware that Kong Hee and the leadership are guilty for their fraud (and rightfully agree so), but I am coerced to attend CHC by my mother who remains a faithful follower even though me and my own father disagrees with CHC and accuse her of blind faith.
I attended CHC since 2002 when I was a kid. To me, staying in CHC or leaving would not make a difference in my thoughts towards them. Compared to Admin 1’s testimony (goo.gl/NDdXri), CHC now is not as “hard sell and forceful” as they used be during Admin 1’s days. However, there is that implicit pressure going on and I do feel stressful hanging out with my cell group (CG).
In the past, my dad had to disconnect the phone line because they kept calling me. As a 12 year old back then, it was really stressful. They would surround me in large groups, but today, my CG leaves me alone most of the time. My mother still coerces me to go, thinking that it can help me in my anxiety and fears. She thinks I’m a hermit. She also coerce my father to attend CHC and will nag and give him sleepless nights if he refuse to attend for too long.
I find their prosperity sermons boring, that it makes me want to sleep, because they always keep talking about the same things. Pastor Tan Ye Peng speaks the best in my opinion, while Kong Hee is just a savvy speaker. The preaching has been less doctrinal for the past 5 years, as most of the time was spent on praising Kong Hee and his wife, Sun Ho. I don’t care about their prosperity gospel much as I knew it was a lie from day one. I am content with what I have.
My connect group leader (different from cell group leader) keeps asking me to donate to this year’s building fund, claiming that I should donate out of “love for God”. On the stage, the message is about donating to receive financial blessings in return. Honestly, the “successful” testimonies they bring on stage are just 1 out of a 1000 people who donated, while the rest who donated suffered badly. It’s basically a sales pitch, a big propaganda machine. I don’t like it and that’s why I don’t tithe. And why should I since I don’t make any income?? They expect me to use my savings or money given to me by my parents. As my dad does not want to argue with my mom, he lets her be and lets her donate. He knew way long ago that the funds were channelled towards Sun Ho before they were exposed.
I lectured my connect group leader a few days ago, when he asked me about my view on the verdict. He isn’t in the position to comment back to me though since I was in CHC way longer than him. I just told him as a matter of fact, the this was indeed a breach of trust. I was very happy when Kong Hee and the leaders involved got arrested. They cheated me of my money when I was a kid.
Both of my mum’s first two cell group leaders left CHC and they were executive and board members. I am also aware the the cell group and connect group leaders themselves are controlled and pressured from the top.
When I tell my CG leader that I am stressed out, they can’t do anything much and my mum tells them that I have anxiety issues, not realising that CHC and she coercing me to go are the cause of it. I even have a psychiatrist letter proving I have that condition.
My mother however has it worse. Since attending CHC, she became very paranoid and very anxious. Anything that does not go her way smoothly, she will make the ridiculous claim that the Devil is acting against her, like having a minor car accident etc. Sometimes when she presses the wrong number on her mobile, she would blame the Devil for it. She keeps worrying about things and scolds me for being anxious when she in fact, is anxious herself! It’s hard to convince her to leave CHC but to be fair, her current CG people are moderate and many of them dislike Sun Ho’s antics.
When the judge said that Kong Hee was capitalising on people’s fear and paranoia to galvanize support for channeling funds in a discreet manner towards the crossover project, he was not wrong. Indeed, look at what Kong Hee has done to me and my mom now. When Kong Hee made the daring claim some time ago that God said sorry to him, he’s hallucinating! Sometimes I wonder if his dreams and visions are hallucinations or vain imaginations.
After the verdict, I saw the service live online where Kong Hee apologised and bowed his head to the congregation. However, his apology sounded more like he was sorry for the inconvenience caused rather than the fraud and the false doctrines he preached. A.R Bernard who is right now in Singapore, continues to praise Kong Hee and Sun Ho. The previous time he came, he even told the church to obey and trust Kong Hee fully.
I do want to leave CHC but I will do so when I get older as I do not want to cause myself anymore emotional turmoil as I am experiencing right now.
Jayden (name has been changed to protect identity)
We thank Jayden for sharing his testimony with us. Please pray for him and his family, and that the Lord will give him the courage to leave and guide him to the truth in His Word alone.
Source: From Ex-Charismatics, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/c3churchwatch/permalink/1030406617015638/, Published 13:08 26/10/2015. (Accessed 27/10/2015.)
“[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth…” 1 Corinthians 13:6
To understand Roland Poon’s involvement in the City Harvest scandal, we would encourage you to read old news articles about him here:
The Straits Times reports,
Former church member Roland Poon who alleged funds misuse ‘vindicated’, says daughter
Back then, businessman Roland Poon alleged that church funds were being misused to finance the music career of Ms Ho, the wife of CHC founder Kong Hee.
Mr Poon, 66, eventually retracted his statement and apologised, but his comments would set off a chain of events leading to the criminal charges, according to the prosecution.
On Wednesday, the six accused in the long-running CHC trial were found guilty of all charges.
Mr Poon’s daughter, Ms Sharon Poon, told The Straits Times after the verdict: “I feel happy for my father that he is now vindicated, and that after 10 years, we now know that what he did was right.”
She said Mr Poon had been concerned about the outcome of the case and was “waiting for this day to happen”, adding: “Now, he can sleep in peace.”
“He was brave enough to come out about it. Now, I hope that they can apologise to him, if they still have the heart,” she said.
Mr Poon declined to comment when contacted.
WHY IT MATTERS: The City Harvest Church case
During the trial, much of the spotlight was cast on the Crossover Project – a plan started in 2002 to evangelise to the “unchurched” and woo non-converts, in particular youth – through Ms Ho’s secular pop music.
The project started on a high, and Ms Ho later went on to produce five albums and perform in 80 concerts as part of a worldwide outreach tour between October 2003 and May 2004 that drew some 140,000 supporters.
However, controversy surrounding the project had begun to brew since January 2003, when Mr Poon flagged the possible misuse of funds.
The project’s costs increased dramatically when the decision was made to break into the United States market. Songwriter and producer Wyclef Jean was hired in 2006 to help Ms Ho.
Criticism surged again in 2007, after the release of Ms Ho’s English single China Wine. In the risque music video, marketed for its “Asian-Reggae” fusion sounds, she is seen dancing in a skimpy outfit.
“If Sun made it in the US, it would open a big door for our missions,” Kong had said during the trial.
However, the court also heard that church members were supposedly encouraged to divert their tithes and donations to music production company Xtron to fund the mounting expenses of Ms Ho’s US album. Kong was also accused by former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han, one of the defendants, of spending church money to buy Ms Ho’s earlier Mandarin albums, thereby inflating sales figures.
Source: By Ng Huiwen, Former church member Roland Poon who alleged funds misuse ‘vindicated’, says daughter, Straits Times, http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/former-church-member-who-alleged-funds-misuse-vindicated-says-daughter, Published 12:04 AM SGT 22/10/2015. (Accessed 26/10/2015.)
“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” – Luke 8:17
This scripture is very applicable to the charges against Kong Hee and cohorts.
Before the “Sermon review”, Chris Rosebrough decided to play audio segments of Phil Pringle. He has this to say about Phil Pringle before reviewing him, in light of the verdict.
“Now what we’re going to be listening to are two bits of audio from videos put out by, well Phil Pringle, who I think has a LOT to do- a LOT to do behind the scenes regarding Kong Hee and Sun Ho’s Crossover project- and was one of the men who was directly coaching and, um – leading, (you know, casting vision for Kong Hee).
And that is Phil Pringle of C3. And so these two have a tight friendship. And like I said, a few years back at the Presence Conference, one of the things that Kong Hee said was that it was Phil Pringle who got him into this mess. And I don’t think that was a slip. I think that was absolutely the truth.” 24:25
Last year we published a two part series from a C3 Church insider on Phil Pringle’s involvement with Kong Hee, Luke 8:17 being the scripture reference for the heading.
You might want to read those articles before listening to Chris Rosebrough’s review. His [Good] “Sermon Review” is by Dr. Paul Choo, who has proven to be a faithful shepherd in Singapore, exposing the prosperity wolf pack consisting of David Yonngi Cho, Kong Hee, Joseph Prince and so on.
This is another very important episode to tune into:
The Verdict On Kong Hee
00:00:00 The Verdict on Kong Hee
00:44:47 Sermon Review: Prosperity Gospel by Dr. Paul Choo
Source: Chris Rosebrough, The Verdict On Kong Hee, Fighting for the Faith, http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2015/10/the-verdict-on-kong-hee.html, Published 23/10/2015. (Accessed 24/10/2015.)
Recent media reporting on
Phil Pringle’s secrecy and culture of insecurity at C3 Church Kong Hee’s secrecy and culture of insecurity at City Harvest Church.
Today Online writes,
CHC slammed for ‘secrecy, culture of insecurity’
SINGAPORE — Criticising what he called the culture of insecurity that six City Harvest Church leaders convicted on Wednesday operated under, Presiding Judge of the State Courts See Kee Oon saved some of his strongest words for church founder Kong Hee in his 270-page written judgment released to the media yesterday.
The six leaders — Kong, his deputy Tan Ye Peng, former church accountant Serina Wee, former church investment manager Chew Eng Han, former finance manager Sharon Tan and former church board member John Lam — were found guilty on all of counts of criminal breach of trust and/or falsification of accounts.
Judge See had delivered his oral judgment, a condensed version of the written grounds, on Wednesday. He found that they had acted dishonestly and in breach of the trust reposed in them to cause wrongful loss of S$50 million to the church and to defraud auditors.
In his judgment grounds, the judge wrote that Kong capitalised on the church climate of paranoia and fear in 2003 to galvanise support for the Crossover Project — using his wife Ho Yeow Sun’s secular pop music to reach out to non-Christians. The collective fear arose after then-church member Roland Poon publicly commented that church funds had been used to promote Ms Ho’s music career.
Kong’s response to the incident revealed “both his personal dominance and deep insecurity”, said JC See. The pastor rallied the church “around the big idea that they (i.e. CHC’s leaders and by extension the entire church) were being maligned and under attack, and hence had to be discreet,” he added.
“He convinced them that if CHC’s leaders believed they had to be discreet in order for the Crossover to succeed, then they ought to simply trust them and not question their motives or reasons.”
The effort to keep the church’s financing of the Crossover discreet led to the set-up of Xtron Productions to manage Ms Ho’s career. The criminal charges in this case relate in part to sham bonds worth millions of dollars that the church bought from Xtron to channel church funds to the Crossover.
All six leaders’ committed zeal for the Crossover vision may have clouded their objectivity and judgment and obscured the need to safeguard money which was not theirs to use as they wished, said judge See. They chose to create cover stories and clever round-trips concealing their unlawful conduct, he added.
“The allure of power that can be exercised in secrecy is difficult to resist. When shrouded under a cloak of invisibility, much like the mythical ring of Gyges, persons in such positions of power have no fear of accountability and tend to become their own worst enemies,” he wrote.
The ring of Gyges is a mythical artefact that grants its owner the power to become invisible at will, mentioned in Greek philosopher Plato’s The Republic.
Judge See wrote: “It has thus been wisely said that the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light, and if they choose not to come into the light they do so for fear that their deeds will be exposed, as they surely will in time.”
Kong would not have been able to act alone and could not orchestrate every move, and the five other leaders were both trusted and trusting, he added. They wanted to ensure their conduct and choices lived up to Kong’s expectations.
Noting that none of the six was aware of all the details, the judge said it could be because there were far too many moving parts in the plan for the Crossover to the United States, which grew more ambitious over time.
The US foray involved Ms Ho’s debut English album, which had hip-hop star Wyclef Jean roped in at one point. It led to the church’s sham bond investments worth S$24 million in Xtron and another company, and four of the leaders then misused another S$26.6 million of church funds to try to cover up the first amount.
“But this may have also been the inevitable consequence of CHC’s election to carry out its affairs and operations relating to the funding of the Crossover in a discreet fashion. This was merely a euphemism for a culture of insecurity mired in secrecy and opaqueness where asking difficult or awkward questions was taboo,” the judge wrote.
There was no way that Kong – who the judge found to have controlled Xtron – could fail to realise that once CHC had bought Xtron bonds that the bond proceeds would be “entirely within his control”.
Judge See also noted that Kong had sought to mislead a different set of auditors, Ernst & Young (since renamed EY), who were conducting a governance review of CHC on behalf of the Government towards the end of 2007. Kong helped prepare replies to questions that the auditors might ask, and the church would have told auditors that Xtron’s directors were separate and independent of the church board – which he knew was untrue, said judge See.
He also said Kong exploited Chew’s forceful personality and his determination and drive to achieve objectives, although Chew also glossed over the fact that he himself had bought Ms Ho’s Mandarin albums when he blamed Kong for deceiving him about the true measure of her success.
Separately, Kong broke his silence on the verdict yesterday, posting on Facebook his belief that God would use the outcome of the case for good. The pastor also thanked his supporters and said: “The days and steps ahead are challenging, but with God’s grace and love, I have no fear.”
The six will be back in court on Nov 20, where they could be sentenced.
Source: By Neo Chai Chin, CHC slammed for ‘secrecy, culture of insecurity’, Today Online, http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/chc-slammed-secrecy-culture-insecurity?singlepage=true, Published 11:33 PM, 22/10/2015, Updated 10:10 AM, 23/102015. (Accessed 25/10/2015.)