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News has recently broke that Sun Ho has apparently been caught on video, “reminding church staff this month to give to the legal fund”. Does this behaviour from Sun Ho surprise you?

TR Emeritus reports,

COC looking into Sun Ho soliciting donations for legal fees

Despite the Commissioner of Charities (COC) stopping City Harvest Church’s (CHC) attempts to quietly raise funds for their 6 church leaders including Kong Hee, to fight their legal cases, Sun Ho was still reminding church staff this month to give to the legal fund. Her “act” was apparently caught on video by one of the staff and the video was later forwarded to the authority.

In Aug last year, CHC members received donation forms, asking them to donate to pay for the legal fees of their leaders. Dated 6 Aug 2012, the form stated that the donations would be deposited into the bank accounts of 2 CHC pastors. It also said that it is seeking funds as a “personal gift” to their 6 leaders. The members were told that the legal fees could be well taken care of if 7,500 people could give $2,000 each, which worked out to be $15 million in total, giving the 6 accused $2.5 million each to help fight their cases.

However, when COC got wind of the news, it warned CHC, “The Commissioner of Charities’ (COC) office had earlier issued a Restriction Order to the Board of City Harvest Church (CHC) to restrict CHC from paying the legal fees of the six accused persons and entering into transactions relating to payment of services to the suspended individuals and their related entities, without the approval of the COC.”

“The COC has informed CHC that the church and/or its employees should not be involved in raising funds for the legal expenses or setting up a specific fund for this purpose.”

Later, CHC stopped distributing the donation forms. It then said the pastors involved have relinquished their roles in the effort, and added that “the church was unaware of any new fund-raising efforts that are currently taking place”. However, CHC’s executive pastor, Mr Aries Zulkarnain, did give his consent to members to raise funds for Kong Hee and his cohort in their own personal capacity.

On 22 Aug this month, Sun Ho was accused of soliciting donations for the leadership’s legal fees. COC had lifted her suspension orders earlier so that she could resume her role as Executive Director of the church which she co-founded with her husband, Kong. The accusation appeared on the “CHC Confessions” Facebook page [Link], which was set up to discuss one’s experience with CHC:

“Sun is still asking staff to give to the legal funds openly. She ask the staff not to be ashamed and give as much as they can, even if it is $10. However, little do the the staff and donors know that for the Senior Counsels of these accused to even agree to represent them, they have already paid upfront of $18 million for engagement. So what legal fund are they collecting?

Sun, you shamelessly ask for money during meetings and thankfully we have recorded your speech and handed to the authorities.

Go ahead and do a witch hunt and sack your staff if you dare.

Let’s see if MOM will deal with you for wrongful dismissal.

Well done staff of CHC!!”

The Straits Times confirmed today (26 Aug) that COC is looking into the matter:

“Meanwhile, it has once again been accused of soliciting donations for the leadership’s legal fees. A staff member has supposedly made a recording of Ms Ho reminding church staff to give to the legal fund, and presented it to the authorities. The Commissioner of Charities’ Office said it is looking into the matter.

Last year, it gave the church a warning after a donation form was circulated. It said neither the church nor its staff were allowed to get involved in raising funds for the accused’s legal expenses.”

Last month, Kong was back in the news after a YouTube video [Link] went viral showing a Kong Hee sermon in which he claimed that God had apologised to him for his struggles.

“Father, Father, why, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me and thrown me to the dogs?” he was recorded as saying, after relating the experience of Jesus Christ on the cross at his crucifixion and sharing that he identified with Jesus’ sufferings.

“For the first time in eight months, God, I heard Him cry. And he said ‘My son, Kong, thank you. Thank you for going through this. I need you to go through this alone, so that you and City Harvest Church can be the man and the ministry I call it to be. I’m so sorry, but you need to go through this by yourself, to bring a change to your generation,” Kong said.

“I hear God saying for the first time in eight months, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’. Waves upon waves of God’s love, the love of the father just saturated me… and I know everything’s going to be all right. Everything is going to be all right.”

CHC later clarified, “The use of ‘I’m so sorry’ here is not in the context of an apology, but a word of comfort. It is in no way an apology or an admission of guilt as has been suggested.”

“He spoke honestly and openly about what he heard God say to him.”

Kong Hee and 5 other CHC leaders were arrested in Jun 2012 and charged with conspiring to cheat the church of millions of dollars. Some $24 million of church’s funds was allegedly transferred to two companies as bond investments. It’s been charged that these were “sham transactions” devised to conceal the diversion of the church’s building fund to finance the pop music career of celebrity Sun Ho, Kong’s wife.

Meanwhile, the trial of the 6 CHC leaders resumed today (26 Aug) with the prosecution seeking to show that the leaders were involved in major decisions such as budgets and staff employment at Xtron Productions, a music production company accused of helping CHC to siphon church funds. There appeared to be fewer CHC members lingered outside the courthouse this time around to show their support.

Source: COC looking into Sun Ho soliciting donations for legal fees, Editorial, TR Emeritus, http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/08/26/coc-looking-into-sun-ho-soliciting-donations-for-legal-fees/, 26/08/2013. (Accessed 27/08/2013.)