Chew the ‘key person’ behind financing for Crossover Project
SINGAPORE — Taking the stand for the eighth and final day yesterday, prosecution witness and City Harvest Church supporter Wahju Hanafi singled out former church leader Chew Eng Han as the “key person” involved in the financing of the Crossover Project to develop singer Ho Yeow Sun’s career.
Wrapping up his re-examination of Mr Hanafi, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng took the Indonesian businessman through the list of the five church leaders — Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee Gek Yin, John Lam Leng Hung and Sharon Tan Shao Yuen — who, together with Chew, are accused of making allegedly sham bond investments and misappropriating S$24 million from the church’s building fund for Ms Ho’s career.
Earlier during the re-examination, he had tried to show church co-founder Kong’s involvement in the financing of the project by pointing to an email from Kong to American music producer Justin Herz in February 2005.
DPP Tan had also pointed out that, in the email, Kong had instructed Mr Herz to “plan as if ‘the sky is the limit’ and then work out how we are going to get the funds” — although Kong’s lawyer had a day earlier sought to show that Kong had given careful thought to the budget for Ms Ho’s career.
Mr Hanafi denied the five church leaders’ involvement in the financing of the Crossover Project, but identified Chew, who was formerly the church’s investment manager, as “the key person” involved. Chew left the church suddenly in June, citing “issues of spiritual and moral significance”.
DPP Tan also questioned Mr Hanafi on apparent discrepancies in his testimony. For instance, while Mr Hanafi had said in the examination-in-chief that he was not involved in the decision-making of Xtron Productions — which managed Ms Ho’s career — between January 2007 and August 2008, he told the court yesterday that “I didn’t say I was not involved in the decision-making”. Mr Hanafi was Xtron Director from June 2003 to July 2008, when the company provided management services to Ms Ho.
Asked to clarify this, Mr Hanafi said: “I can’t remember this that I have mentioned that I was not completely on decision-making.” Pressed by the prosecution, he added: “Some of these questions, you know, I might be cornered and then I answered it.”
Also taking the stand yesterday was prosecution witness Foong Daw Ching, an auditor from Baker Tilly, who was asked about his relationship with the six accused. The court heard that Mr Foong has known Kong since around 1993, but hardly meets him outside of church. City Harvest and Xtron are clients of the firm, and Kong’s personal tax is also handled by Baker Tilly. The court had heard in the previous tranche of the trial that the firm’s managing partner Sim Guan Seng had raised concerns about the money that was channelled to Xtron. Amir Hussain
Source: Amir Hussain, Chew the ‘key person’ behind financing for Crossover Project, TodayOnline, http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/chew-key-person-behind-financing-crossover-project, 12/09/2013. (Accessed 27/09/2013.)