2012, 25 july, 30 August, 6th executive charged, alleged, arrest, bond investments, building fund, c3 church, CAD, channelnewsasia.com, charged, CHC, Chew Eng Han, church accountant, church books, City Harvest Church, Claire Huang, COC, commercial affairs department, Commissioner of Charities, court case, court hearing, criminal breach of trust, Daniel Gorter, false entries, falsification of accounts, falsification of church accounts, Ho Yeow Sun, Kong Hee, Lam Leng Hung, misappropriating church funds, misuse of church funds, Mr Edwin Tong, music career, myc3churchreview, next court hearing, next mention 5 weeks later, Oxford Falls, Phil Pringle, Qiuyi Tan, round-tripping, S$24 million, S$26.6 million, S$50 million, S$500 000 bail each, scandal, Serina Wee Gek Yin, sham transactions, Sharon Tan, Singapore, sixth, Sun Ho, Suntec City, Sydney, Tan Shao Yuen Sharon, Tan Ye Peng, Teo Chee Hean, trial
From the channelnewsasia.com website:
6th City Harvest Church executive charged
By Qiuyi Tan/Claire Huang | Posted: 25 July 2012 0952 hrs
SINGAPORE: Another person has been charged in relation to the City Harvest Church court case.
City Harvest Church’s former finance manager, Serina Wee Gek Yin, was read 10 charges – six related to criminal breach of trust and four to falsifying accounts.
She joins five others, including founder Kong Hee, who were charged last month with misappropriating money from the church’s building fund.
Some S$24 million was allegedly transferred from the church’s building fund account to two companies as bond investments.
These were alleged to be “sham transactions” meant to mask the diversion of the church’s building fund to finance the pop music career of Sun Ho, the wife of Kong Hee.
A further sum of $26.6 million was allegedly used to create the impression that the sham bonds had been fully “redeemed”, a process called “round-tripping”.
Wee, 35, was the first amongst the defendants to arrive in court on Wednesday, wearing a black dress and sunglasses.
She was accompanied by her husband and her lawyers.
Court papers said she was involved in a conspiracy to misappropriate millions of dollars of church funds which were allegedly channelled into bond investments.
Wee allegedly instigated a church accountant to record false entries in the church books on four occasions.
In court with Wee were the five other church members who had been charged earlier.
They are Kong Hee, senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, investment manager Chew Eng Han, finance manager Sharon Tan, and board member Lam Leng Hung.
From as early as 7.30am Wednesday, City Harvest Church supporters gathered at the carpark outside the Subordinate Courts.
They began to stream into the court at around 8am.
The court session lasted all of 15 minutes and every minute was filled with tension.
Supporters of the church packed the public gallery within minutes of the courtroom opening, while people from the media and the defence lawyers of the six accused persons filled the other half of the courtroom.
Kong Hee is represented by Mr Edwin Tong, while the rest have engaged senior counsel.
During the session, prosecution and defence came to agreement that the next mention will be 5 weeks later, on 30 August, so that all cases can be brought up at the same time.
All six are claiming trial and are out on bail of S$500,000 each.
Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1215562/1/.html Accessed 26 July 2012 1230 hrs
From Today: http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC120725-0000065/6th-City-Harvest-member-charged-cases-adjourned-for-5-weeks
6th City Harvest member charged; cases adjourned for 5 weeks
Updated 12:55 PM Jul 25, 2012
SINGAPORE – Six individuals connected to City Harvest Church (CHC), including founder Kong Hee, were this morning granted a five-week adjournment for pre-trial conferences.
The six have been charged this morning for criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts, after allegedly using millions from the church’s funds to further the secular musical career of Sun Ho, Kong’s wife. They were also charged with misappropriating another S$26.6 million to hide their actions.
Five members had been charged last month – Kong; ex-board chairman John Lam, 44; ex-board vice-president Tan Ye Peng, 39; ex-investment manager Chew Eng Han, 52; and ex-finance manager Sharon Tan, 36. This morning, a sixth, former finance director Serina Wee, was charged on 10 counts.
Wee was charged with six counts of criminal breach of trust and four charges of falsifying accounts. Similarly to the five who had been charged earlier, she was offered bail of S$500,000, while her passport has been impounded.
There appeared to be visibly fewer City Harvest supporters in attendance at the courtroom today – a few dozen, our reporter estimated – compared to the original court appearance last month. About 40 members of the media thronged the steps leading up to the courthouse ahead of the court session, which was over in 10 minutes.
Kong, who was not accompanied by his wife this morning, appeared stoic throughout proceedings. The only insight into his state of mind was via his Twitter account; last night, he quoted a verse stating “Do not worry about tomorrow”, while two hours before his court appearance, he tweeted: “Lord Jesus, be my shepherd today.”
From AsiaOne News: http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20120725-361152.html
City Harvest Church ex-finance chief charged
Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012
SINGAPORE – City Harvest Church’s (CHC) ex-finance chief Serina Wee, 35, was charged this morning, making her the sixth person to face criminal charges over the alleged siphoning of church funds.
The Straits Times reported that Wee faces six charges of criminal breach of trust and four for falsifying accounts.
Her bail has been set at $500,000.
The other five charged so far are founding pastor Kong Hee, 47; church management board member John Lam Leng Hung, 44; Kong’s deputy Tan Ye Peng, 39; church finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen, 36; and investment manager Chew Eng Han, 52.
Prosecutors believe that at least $23 million was invested in alleged sham transactions to fund the pop music career of Kong’s wife, Sun Ho.
The funds were said to have been put into a $13 million bond investment with Xtron Productions, while $11 million was allegedly put into another company called PT The First National Glassware.
It is believed that some of the accused also conspired to misappropriate another $26.6 million of church funds so that it would seem like the alleged sham bond investments were redeemed. This is called ’round-tripping’.
Kong arrived at the Subordinate Court at 8.55am this morning for a second mention of the high-profile case, which first came under scrutiny in early 2010, when the Commissioner of Charities (COC) received complaints alleging the misuse of the charity’s funds.
The five have not pleaded guilty. The offence of criminal breach of trust carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, and/or a fine. For the charge of falsifying accounts, the accused may be punishable with a life sentence, or jail of up to 20 years and a fine.
From the Straits Times: http://www.straitstimes.com/The-Big-Story/The-Big-Story-1/Story/STIStory_825935.html
City Harvest Church members hire legal heavyweights
Published on Jul 26, 2012
By Leonard Lim
The high-profile case involving the City Harvest Church looks set to be a dramatic – and costly – showdown with legal heavyweights getting into the fray.
With the exception of church founder Kong Hee, who is represented by Member of Parliament Edwin Tong, the five church members allegedly involved in the conspiracy have engaged Senior Counsels to be part of their legal team in court.
A Senior Counsel is a lawyer considered as an elite among the profession.
The five accused are CHC vice-chairman Tan Ye Peng, chairman John Lam Leng Hung, former finance chief Serina Wee, finance manager Sharon Tan and investment manager Chew Eng Han.
Lam has taken Senior Counsel Kenneth Tan and lawyer Nicholas Narayanan of Nicholas & Tan, while Tan is represented by SC Chelva Rajah and N Sreenivasan of Straits Law, Chew by SC Francis Xavier and Sharon Tan by SC Kannan Ramesh and Jeffrey Ong of JLC Advisors, and Wee by SC Andre Maniam.
The case had been adjourned to Aug 30 for a pre-trial conference.
From the Strait Times: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_825930.html
City Harvest founder Kong Hee arrives in court
Published on Jul 25, 2012
By Bryna Sim And Leonard Lim
City Harvest Church founding pastor Kong Hee arrived at the Subordinate Court on Wednesday at 8.55am for a second mention in a high-profile case involving alleged misuse of millions in church funds.
He was the last among the senior church members charged a month ago to enter Court 26, with at least 100 church members inside the gallery and another 100 more standing outside the courtroom.
Kong was not accompanied by his wife Ho Yeow Sun this time.
CHC ex-finance chief Serina Wee was charged on Wednesday morning with 10 criminal charges – six for criminal breach of trust and four for falsifying accounts – over her alleged role in siphoning church funds at City Harvest Church.
AsiaOne: City Harvest case continues in court today, http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20120725-361123.html, 25/07/2012.
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The devil made me do it. Blame him not me!
In the end all are going to face God on Judgement Day. You can cheat people of God but you cannot cheat God.