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More disturbing news has surfaced against Kong Hee and his wife. We bring you these two articles that we are sure Phil Pringle does not want you to read.
Channel News Asia reports,
CHC spent half a million dollars buying Sun Ho’s unsold CDs
These and other details surfaced as the prosecution sought to highlight inconsistencies in the testimony of ex-church board member John Lam, who cited Ms Ho’s success as a reason CHC should invest in bonds issued by her artiste management company.
SINGAPORE — Ms Sun Ho was not the successful singer City Harvest Church had made her out to be. Evidence showed that the church had spent about half a million dollars buying her unsold CDs.
The profitability of her artiste management company Xtron was also called into question as the trial involving the church’s leader Kong Hee and his five deputies resumed yesterday.
The six church leaders are accused of misusing more than S$50 million of church funds to buy sham bonds to bankroll Ms Ho’s music career.
Although she had been touted as a big commercial success, lead prosecutor Mavis Chionh said the financial statements told a different story.
In 2004, City Harvest Church spent about half a million dollars buying at least 32,000 of her unsold Mandarin CDs to give to ministries and churches overseas.
These details surfaced as the prosecution sought to highlight inconsistencies in the evidence given by former church board member John Lam.
Lam had cited Ms Ho’s success as a reason for the church’s investment in bonds issued by Xtron. He pointed out that the junk bonds were not necessarily bad ones and added that he had believed Ms Ho’s album sales in the United States would be good enough to cover the obligations of the bond.
However, the prosecution said that as former director of Xtron, Lam would have known it was not a profitable company. For example, its only asset was a laptop and all its other assets were loaned from the church. It did not even have the budget to pay a S$46,000 freight services bill.
The prosecution also pointed out that Xtron was not the independent entity it had been made out to be. For one, Lam and fellow accused Chew Eng Han had agreed to stamps being made of their signatures to be used on Xtron’s invoices.
Ms Chionh said the two were “happy to rubber stamp decisions”, knowing that they were made by Kong and the church and were happy to go along with those decisions.
The court also heard that the bulk of Xtron’s funding came from the church’s members. For example, Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi’s donations to the church’s building fund were refunded to him and channelled to Xtron. The building fund pledges and tithes of some other members, including Lam’s, were also diverted to Xtron.
The trial continues.
Source: By http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/chc-spent-half-a-million/1296604.html, Published 23:49 AM 04/08/2014. (Accessed 05/08/2014.)CHC spent half a million dollars buying Sun Ho’s unsold CDs, Channel News Asia,
Yahoo! Singapore reports,
City Harvest case resumes: S$500,000 used to buy Sun Ho’s unsold music CDs
City Harvest Church (CHC) spent $500,000 to buy Sun Ho’s unsold CDs. This was revealed in court on Monday as the trial involving the church leaders resumed.
According to Today newspaper, lead prosecutor Mavis Chionh said the financial statements of the church revealed that at least 32,000 of Ms Ho’s unsold music CDs were purchased by the church for a sum of S$500,000 to give away to ministries and churches overseas. Sun Ho is the wife of CHC co-founder and pastor Kong Hee. A former student of Anglican High School and Victoria Junior College, Ho — previously known as Ho Yeow Sun when she was a successful Mandopop singer — began to eye the US pop market in 2003 and had plans to use A-list music stars to launch her career in Hollywood.
Ms Ho’s “commercial success” was also cited as a reason for the church’s investment in Xtron-issued bonds. Xtron was Sun Ho’s artiste management agency although its profitability and who controlled it is currently under question.
Church founder Kong Hee, his wife Sun Ho and former finance manager Serina Wee are among six senior church leaders accused of misappropriating more than S$50 million worth of church fundsto finance Sun Ho’s career as part of a “Crossover Project” — a church mission started in 2002 designed to reach out to non-Christians through music.
Former City Harvest treasurer and board member, John Lam Leng Hung also took the stand on Monday, claiming he had “mistakenly” pumped S$1.2 million into a church-building fund, which was later withdrawn and channeled into funds to develop the musical career of Sun Ho.
Clad in shirt and blazer, Lam, 46, was the first of six leaders to take the stand in the fifth tranche of the mega church’s trial, which resumed on Monday.
During court proceedings, prosecutor Mavis Chionh produced a 2002 email suggesting that Lam’s “error” was part of a deliberate plan to muddy the paperwork trail before the eventual channeling of funds into the Crossover Project.
In the email between Lam and another accused church leader, Chew said, “We will need to do more withdrawals of BF [building fund] (this time, probably Wahju and myself), and put into Xtron, and Pst Kong will put in some personal cash also…”
This “merry go round” funds as claimed by Lam in another email was initially excluded in meeting minutes submitted to auditors because he was “scared” that the public would “object” the withdrawing from the building fund. It was later added into the minutes signed by Lam. In response to this, prosecutors suggested that Lam had “falsified” the document.
The court also heard that the bulk of Xtron’s funds came from City Harvest church members.
For example, the $1.2 million in question was donated by church member, Wahju Hanafi, the owner of company Attributes Pte Ltd. Lam had initially explained that he had made an “error” when depositing $1.2 million worth of donations, which was originally intended for Sun Ho’s career from the start.
Lam allowed rubber stamping of his signatures
Lam also admitted to allowing stamps to be made of his signature for invoices under Xtron as he would not be “the best person” to verify some of them.
He admitted to this after prosecutor Chionh showed an email from the church’s human resource and administration manager Wong Foong Ming requesting to make signature stamps.
Lam added that Wee was in charge of processing those invoices and had trusted her verification.
The trial continues on Tuesday.
Source: By Nurul Azliah Aripin, City Harvest case resumes: S$500,000 used to buy Sun Ho’s unsold music CDs, Yahoo! Singapore, https://sg.news.yahoo.com/city-harvest-church-leader-john-lam-in-spotlight-for-s-1-2-million–error–100459301.html, Published 04/08/2014. (Accessed 05/08/2014.)
EDIT 09/08/2014 Here are more articles relevant to the case:
CHC leaders accused of doctoring paperwork to back investments
But church board member says backdated meeting minutes were ‘a mistake’
SINGAPORE — The leaders of City Harvest Church (CHC) had planned to falsify paperwork and deceive auditors that the church had assessed Xtron’s bonds to be a good investment, charged the prosecution as the high-profile trial resumed yesterday.
Church founder Kong Hee and his five deputies are being accused of using millions in church funds to buy sham bonds from Xtron and Firna in order to bankroll the secular music career of Kong’s wife, Ms Sun Ho.
Yesterday, the prosecution said the leaders doctored documents so auditors would think the church had considered in July 2008 whether the Xtron bonds could be recovered before the auditors raised the issue on Aug 1, 2008.
For example, the minutes of a church board meeting dated Aug 3, 2008, reflected that CHC’s investment committee had already reviewed and approved the Xtron bonds. But the investment committee only met two days later, on Aug 5.
Similarly, the minutes from that investment committee meeting were backdated to July 29.
A spreadsheet reflecting Xtron’s ability to redeem the bonds, which had allegedly been presented at the Aug 5 meeting, was only created a few days later on Aug 8.
When these anomalies were highlighted to one of the accused, former church board member John Lam, who had seen both sets of minutes and signed off on the church board minutes, he said they were simply “a mistake”.
Lead prosecutor Mavis Chionh disputed that and called it a “deliberate act” to present a certain picture to the church’s auditors — that CHC had considered the recoverability of the bonds before the issue was raised.
Lam had been fully aware of the falsification and deception, argued the prosecution.
She also asserted that the church leaders had not always painted a full picture to its executive members and had sometimes given them misleading impressions.
That was because they did not want members to discover that money that had been meant for church-related matters had, instead, been spent on the Crossover Project. Fronted by Ms Ho, the project was the church’s way of evangelising through pop music.
The court also heard that the leaders had not told the church board that proceeds from the Firna bonds would be used to fund the project, leading them to believe that the bonds were genuine investments that were made purely to gain financial returns.
It was clear Firna, like Xtron, was merely a “conduit” to channel funds to the Crossover Project, charged Ms Chionh. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Source: Today Online, CHC leaders accused of doctoring paperwork to back investments, http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/chc-leaders-accused-doctoring-paperwork-back-investments?singlepage=true, Published 4:03 AM, 07/08/2014. (Accessed 09/08/2014.)
Channel News Asia reports,
Five City Harvest Church leaders on trial met to discuss their defence
An email chain highlighted by the prosecution in court shows five of six church leaders on trial had met to discuss their defence and later raised concerns on whether they were on the same page about round-tripping charges.
SINGAPORE: Five of the six City Harvest Church leaders had met at least once in 2013 to discuss their defence, according to an email chain highlighted by the prosecution in court on Thursday (Aug 7). The court heard that church founder Kong Hee was not present at the meeting. The leaders are accused of using monies from the church’s building fund to buy sham bonds in Xtron and Firna to fund the secular music career of Sun Ho – the wife of church founder Kong Hee.
In an email, the church’s former investment manager and co-accused Chew Eng Han says he is “convinced” that they are not on the same page regarding the substance of their defence and some of them had shifted their position on what the bonds were actually for.
He adds that he is “disturbed” by this, and that these differences should be discussed when they next meet. Chew was also the one who brought the email chain to the court’s attention. It was admitted after a closed-door hearing on Tuesday.
Another email also revealed that his co-accused – John Lam, Serina Wee, and Sharon Tan had also raised concerns about whether they were all on the same page about the round-tripping charges.
In an email to Chew dated Feb 3, 2013, John Lam wrote: “The 2 girls have a concern. If on the bond issue there seem to be a “different page”, how about the round trip? Are we having the different view as well. Obviously we rather not.” He then suggests a meet-up to discuss this. When initially questioned by the prosecution, he had denied talking to the other accused persons about what should be said at trial.
The prosecution then questioned Lam about why – if he was truly honest – would he be worried about his co-accused taking a different view of the charges.
Lead Prosecutor Mavis Chionh asked: “Do you agree that if you are an honest accused person who is going to go to court and tell the truth… you would not be trying to meet up with your co-accused persons and worrying about their taking a different view from yours on the charges?”
In wrapping up her cross-examination on Lam, Ms Chionh also said that Lam had placed the interests of the Crossover Project over and above his duty as a church board member to ensure proper stewardship of the church’s Building Fund. She also pointed out that Lam knew using the Building Fund monies to finance Ms Ho’s career was an unauthorised use of the funds, and that his keen awareness of this was why he had desperately tried to claim ignorance during the trial.
“It is also because of this guilty knowledge that you are now trying to disassociate yourself from the transactions and instead to push the blame to some of your co-accused, from blaming Sharon Tan, for example, for wrongly recording minutes, to blaming Chew Eng Han, whom you say was responsible for feeding you information,” she said.
Ms Chionh also gave a scathing assessment of Lam’s defence saying that it has essentially been one of “I don’t know, nobody told me, and if they did tell me, they didn’t ask me for advice”. She said given his status within the church, financial expertise, and documentary evidence, his defence is not only “untenable” but “deeply cynical”.
Source: ByFive City Harvest Church leaders on trial met to discuss their defence, Channel News Asia, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/five-city-harvest-church/1302222.html, Published 07/08/2014 22:25, Updated 07/08/2014 22:26. (Accessed 09/08/2014.)