Prosecutor tries to establish intricate relationship between City Harvest Church, Xtron Productions
Text: Joelle Chong, Ilsa Chan and Kymie Hwang
Pictures from Internet and YouTube
The fourth day of the trial involving six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders saw the prosecution trying to establish the intricate relationship between the church and Xtron Productions.
The prosecution's third witness, director of Xtron, Koh Siow Ngea, was a church board member from July 2007 to July 2008, as well as part of the church's investment committee from February to July 2008. He stepped down in July 2008 to be the director of Xtron upon the invitation from Tan Ye Peng, who is one of the accused.
When asked why a director of Xtron, which is independent of the church, was appointed by it (CHC), Koh replied: "Somebody has to appoint me."
The court also heard that Xtron had been making losses, amounting to millions in the financial years of 2007 and 2008.
CHC accounted for about 97 per cent of Xtron's business and despite this, it made losses of about $9 million in FY 2008.
However, Koh maintained that it is still a viable business and that Xtron will always have the church's business as it serves its vision.
CHC founder Kong Hee and five other senior church members Serina Wee Gek Yin, Tan Ye Peng, John Lam Leng Hung, Chew Eng Han and Sharon Tan Shao Yuen have been charged with alleged misuse of funds.
The six CHC members allegedly misused approximately S$24 million of church building funds to fund the music career of Kong Hee's wife, local singer Ho Yeow Sun who is better known as Sun Ho, and approximately another S$26 million to cover their tracks.
While Ho is mentioned in the charges, she is not charged because she is not involved in the misappropriation of funds.
According to Channel NewsAsia, defence lawyers for the six church leaders had tried to postpone the trial dates but this met with strong objection from the prosecution.
After hearing from the lawyers from both sides, District Judge Victor Yeo decided that the trial dates should remain unchanged as the case has been going on for almost a year, and it is in the public's interest that the trial is not postponed.
Earlier in March, The High Court dismissed an application by Chew Eng Han to engage a Queen's Counsel to defend him in the upcoming trial.
Chew, who is the church's investment manager, said there was a lack of available local senior counsels with the appropriate expertise to represent him.
However, Justice V K Rajah said that Chew's efforts to engage local legal counsel were not objectively reasonable and that a substantial pool of competent lawyers remains to be tapped. He has since appointed Senior Counsel Michael Khoo to represent him.
xinmsn takes you through the series of events and the key players in the City Harvest Case.
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