It is concerning that Phil Pringle is keeping his C3 Oxford Falls leaders and congregation and his entire network of C3 churches in his movement in the dark.
This article from the blog ‘Not Under The Table’ gives a great overview and catch up for those not yet up to date with the whole Kong Hee saga. If you are involved in a C3 Church, feel free to pass this article onto other C3 members so they can understand CHC’s situation.
The blog ‘Not Under The Table’ writes,
Why It Is NOT Unacceptable That the CHC Trial is Taking So Long…
Recently read about a blog article ranting about why the CHC trial is taking so long. I would like to offer my personal opinion why it is reasonable the trial is taking so long.
The author wrote:
“This whole trial that is already well known as the CHC saga, is amazingly soon entering into its 4th year of prosecutorial indictment, yet up to this point there is no clear sight of where this is going.”
I disagree – so far the DPP’s flow has been rather consistent – first to establish the conflicting relationship between Xtron and CHC in the first 2 tranches, and then to establish if the auditors were dealt with a sleight of hand to pass the audit without awareness of the underlying issues. Maybe we can consider that majority of the prosecution witnesses are loyal supporters of Kong Hee and CHC which they attend, and be surprised at their apparent amnesia. The DPP is indeed having a difficult task ahead.
It has so far been established in the first 2 tranches that:
1) church funds were used without member’s consent/knowledge to fund Sun Ho’s Hollywood project – it was a well established fact even before Asia Conference 2008 that Sun Ho’s singing career is funded out of “her own success” in album sale, not from the church. The leadership of CHC have reiterated this point many times, until the u-turn when they were charged.
2) church parties such as the senior pastor and the then management board have lied about the use of church funds via the media (papers/Roland Poon apology/numerous AGM/EOGM/etc)
The author wrote:
“For a nation known for its efficiency in civil service administration, it is unbelievable that this trial has taken unreasonably long to conclude. As it is today from the news we read, it is nowhere near a conclusive verdict, as it is reported that this famous church trial would stretch to as far as September 2014 at least. Friends and colleagues of mine interested in the case and with whom I chatted over the usual coffee or lunch, commented that no one knows for sure if this trial that is known to almost all of Singapore would even conclude by September 2014. Now this is of even greater concern for me.”
Again, if we understand what is happening, the delay is understandable, and here’s why:
1) The nation is indeed known for its efficiency in civil service administration. But we need to consider that there are 6 individuals under trial now (more may possibly be included as the trial progresses). Aligning the PTC dates to the schedule of the Judge, DPP and the defense lawyers is already a major challenge – the trail only started almost ONE YEAR after they were charged, with no less than 3 PTCs passing by. Do not be surprised this trial goes into 2015 (if we factor in the date for verdict and possible sentencing), and 2016 (for appeals and others)
2) As a reminder, refer to the details of the offenses given in the joint statement (https://www.charities.gov.sg/Documents/COC_Press_Statement_on_CHC__26_June_2012.pdf)
The document outlines deeds that were not even heard in court yet, such as:
a) Misrepresentation on the Use of the Charity’s Funds
b) Use of the Charity’s Funds to Fund the Project
c) Schemes to Avoid Disclosure on Related Party Transactions
d) Governance and Control Issues
The court is still scratching on the surface of the charges to lay a foundation to the saga with issues relating to Xtron Pte Ltd.
The author wrote:
“As a Christian & a keen observer of this trial that has great implications to the religious society of Singapore, I am worried that this long protracted trial that is apparently going to go on for even longer, has now given rise to more questions than the initial outrage over the news of the alleged fraud of these City Harvests Church leaders. I am pretty sure I would not be the only one with these questions in mind, as people from the professional marketplace have resonated with my observations as well. ”
It has indeed given rise to more questions, as more things get revealed in court, just to name a few:
1) why did the senior pastor and its management board lie to its own members who contributed the funds if they had agreed to the strategy to be “covert” in their evangelistic outreach?
2) why did the senior pastor kong hee write a letter to the American producers to bad-mouth his good friend and a well-known Pnw leader Darlene Zschech, claiming that the gospel singer to be a threat to Sun Ho who sang songs like “China Wine” and “You Stupid”
3) Why does the leadership have to hide from it’s EMs the identity of the American record company that managed Sun Ho? (Tonos Entertainment which was defunct in 2003)
4) As revealed in the second tranche, why did 2 of the accused (John Lam and Tan Ye Peng) “take advantage” of auditor Foong Daw Chin by asking him to “pray together” with them but used the meeting to discuss matters related to the case and then recording his conversation? I mean, what do they have to fear if God is with them and they have done no wrong?
5) why the u-turn about the funding of Sun Ho’s Hollywood career? All along she was portrayed as the mascot and role model of the cultural mandate – being a “successful” pop star and funding her own businesses (e.g skin) and pop career out of her own successful earnings, not taking a single cent from the church. Now the entire story changed and suddenly her personal pop career became a project funded by the church.
The author wrote:
“First, the obvious, why is this trial taking so long? The uneasy part about this is that this first question actually leads to more questions following. For a start, I mean, if the criminal offences and charges against the CHC accused leaders were clear and well substantiated, why does it take so long to prove? Surely it does not take more than 3 years to prove if someone has stolen or pocketed money?
One of the longest court trials in the history of Singapore was the well-known insider trading criminal case trial of ex-Deputy Chairman of UOB Mr Allan Ng back in 1989 that was handled by then Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Knight. That trial took a total of 77 days and it was then a record and still is.”
So I say, why do you think the trial will be quick? The content of the charges and the trial relates to to events which took place up to 2010 and not beyond. Based on that summarized annex alone, it should be up to the leaders to prove their innocent and have been above reproach in the things they do as religious leaders of the largest church in Singapore. Surely their claims of innocence contradicts the lies they openly told with the lack of accountability? Duh!
Mr Allan Ng’s case involves only ONE person – not 6 individuals each with the representation of a SC (with the exception of Kong Hee). If you look at it, 77 x 6 = ??
Don’t even try to imply that the wrongful prosecution of Alan Ng by then DPP Glen Knight is comparable to this case – they are miles apart to draw a parallel.
The author wrote:
City Harvest Church leaders’ trial is already seen today as one of the longest running trials in Singapore history, and it might just be the record breaker of all time.
Isn’t that what the leadership would wish for? To be top of everything? They have certainly took the world by storm and outdone their initial goals to take Asia by storm!
The author wrote:
The average Singaporean would question – why are we taking so much time with this and using up far more of our taxpayers’ money to administer and solve a case that is supposed to be solved maybe even a year or two ago? Honestly, if every criminal case that warrants judicial prosecution and court trial takes 4-5 years to close, would we be showing any efficiency in our civil service administration? Would it not reflect an inefficient (- a variant of wasted) use of taxpayers’ money by taking excessively long to solve a legal case?
Honestly, if they were innocent, and they were doing something good and honorable to their God, and have never misused a single cent, why bother to even engage SCs, and have to burden the members to provide for legal fund out of their pocket? IS not their financial burden heavy enough?
On the contrary, the government has the responsibility to ensure justice and order is maintained for the good of Singapore and her citizens, AT ALL COST. And it is precisely the government’s goal to provide a fair trial that they are now given their time and chance to defend – let’s hope the defense make it snappy by providing somesubstantial evidence to explain their deeds and innocence, rather than resort to theatrics and off-the-note recording of prosecution witness conversations as a means of defense. To that note, no taxpayer’s monies will be wasted in providing every Singaporean a fair trial. So please encourage them to save taxpayer’s money.
The author wrote:
Now all these beg even more questions for an average news reader. Observers now are asking a little more seriously, does the Prosecution now even have a case or not? Based on media reports, it is starting to show that the Prosecution witnesses were not providing any strong evidences against the accused, with the witnesses often ended up contradicting themselves and some of the Prosecution’s own witnesses in fact turned out to be witnesses to testify that there could be no legal wrong or criminal breach of trust in the way the church’s funds were used.
I think this is subjective – many observers not from CHC knows that the 6 have no case based on common sense – a religious leader and his management board had to lie to fund his wife’s singing career in the pretext of evangelism, using the monies on extravagance. Again, if we look into who these prosecution witnesses are, we may understand their contradiction and selective amnesia. But anyway, like I have opined earlier, the DPP is still building their case, which looks strong compared to the defense who could only prove that the auditors were aware about the Xtron bonds. The defense at best are arguing on technicalities – honestly – does a work of God really need that?
The author wrote:
Then there is this huge unanswered question that stood out starkly – why are freewill church goers of CHC not allowed to raise their own freewill family church money to support their own pastors? With the hefty legal fees needed to engage such experienced Senior Counsels, it was told that many church members are willing to support their spiritual leaders financially because their church pastors and leaders are still dear to them, but even members of the public are asking why is there even such an arbitrary restriction by the Government (through the Commissioner of Charities) on a Church’s own members’ personal freedom to raise their own money and give out of their own pocket? As a Christian believer & Singapore citizen, I see in two angles, through the eyes of my Christian faith and the eyes of my citizenship rights under the Constitution of Singapore. And I must say I am deeply concerned and worried about this particular restriction on a Christian Church whose members are as much a human and a citizen as would any other Singaporean. To me it is already unconstitutional to put such an unlawful restriction on personal freedom to raise and donate money.
You may wish to refer to the Comissioner of Charity’s role to answer this question. They have a duty to protect the members of the public (church goers included). The DPM is very clear that this case do not involve City Harvest Church but only individuals who were charged for various offenses. I believe that the prohibition has to do with protecting the member’s money – refer to how the MPA were collected, thereby reducing the monies given to the church general and building fund for operations and building related purposes. Personal opinion to CHC members – do not give anything to the funds first – save it and give it as a lump sum until the verdict is given. Your stewardship of your money will find better use.
The author wrote:
As this CHC trial protracts further, I am especially worried about Singapore’s legal efficiencies and credibility of its legal applications.
It is understandable for someone involved with the 6 individuals and the church to be emotionally charged, but Singapore remains one of the legally efficient and credible countries in the world.
The author wrote:
I seriously hope to see an immediate change to the length at which this CHC trial takes to end, as it has become unacceptable to have the case taking that long to conclude, for reasons I have covered earlier. I also wish to see a clear demonstration that natural justice and moral justice are not put in jeopardy as the case unfolds in court. If the Prosecution truly does not have a case convincing enough to prove criminal wrongdoing, the judiciary should just not delay further the already protracted case but render a just verdict as it becomes due. Members of the City Harvest Church should also be allowed to raise money of their own as a sign of their own love and affection for their friends and leaders in need. For the Christians, the Church is a family. You don’t put a law to stop a family from loving each other and giving alms to support those in need. And that is just basic human right. And more than that, a family right.
The undergoing trial now is a demonstration of natural justice in place. As for moral justice, a good place to start will be for the leaders to address the lies and contradicting statements made to the members – every single one of it.
The country do not put a law to stop a family from loving each other and giving alms to support those in need; instead, the country legislates to protect a family loving each other and generous in their giving to those in need from individuals seeking to exploit their trust and generosity, wolves dressed up in sheep clothing.
Perhaps the witnesses called upon can help shorten the trial by remembering key information than transpired.
An overview about “Crossover Project”
For many CHC members who joined the church from 2004 onward, they may not be aware of some developments. Much of the corporate communication found in the internet today regarding “Crossover Project” were backdated or new info designed to provide consistency with the “stories” today. New info taken from past records will be released to address them as the trial progresses.
Generally, the Crossover comprises of two phases – Phase one began in 2002 and is primarily targeting Asian countries (Taiwan/HK/Malaysia/Singapore) with Sun With Love (2002) up to 2005. It was largely a success with many souls saved in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and resulted in a shift in the overall Christian population in those countries. Xtron at that point acts as Sun Ho’s agent, as well as master to the Expo lease (2005-2011). It was maintained that the funding for the project/humanitarian works came from the proceeds of Sun Ho’s mandarin album sales as well as sponsorship by Wahyu Hanafi. But now we know the sponsorship involves Xtron and Firna Glassware bonds.
Crossover phaase 2 comprises the foray into Hollywood and projects to the above-mentioned countries halted when Sun Ho changed her objective to penetrate the Hollywood market, supposedly “talent spotted” by an American Production company for USD5m contract (we know who the company is now, and who funded the shell company). Results of this come in the form of singles like China Wine, Fancy Free, You Stupid, etc. The ultimate objective is to penetrate China through her success in USA, which was deemed to be the strategic key China would open its door. Interestingly, many Taiwanese and Hong Kong artistes need not take that route to become big names in China. It is in this second phase that the much talked about Xtron bonds and relationship with CHC were the subject. Again, it was maintained that no church funds were ever used – that pop culture is strictly Sun’s personal project – you may cross reference to Kong Hee’s blog post titled “whole shallowness” as well as various public announcements he made.
Collectively, Crossover phase one and two were known as a part of the “Cultural Mandate” period which started in 2001/early 2002 by Pastor Kong Hee under the influence of Dr AR Bernard’s teaching on “Kristos Kai Kosmos”, and other notable preachers such as Phil Pringle and Ulf Ekman. The key thrust of Cultural Mandate is to influence society through being culturally relevant Christians in 7 key pillars of society: Religion, Family, Business, Education, Government, Arts and Entertainment and Media.
It is rather disappointing to learn that Cultural Mandate overlooked core basic Christian foundations such as honesty, faithfulness and accountability, choosing to use deception, misrepresentation, bullying (e.g. Roland Poon) and legalites as its key thrusts.
Group-Think at Work?
I’m trying to understand why people can act in such a way in the face of clearly established key facts, and I could only suspect group-think. It could also be the hold on religion – the fear of testifying against “God’s anointed”. But the bible clearly instructs all men to be a truthful and to judge those in the house. My opinion is that the judge and DPP will certainly need to understand the hold of the dynamics of religion and the culture within CHC to cut right through the cloud of fluff.
Source: By notunderthetable, Not Under The Table, Why It Is NOT Unacceptable That the CHC Trial is Taking So Long…, http://notunderthetable.blogspot.sg/2014/01/why-it-is-unacceptable-that-chc-trial.html, 19/01/2014. (Accessed 20/01/2014.)