Defence wants case thrown out, judge to deliver decision on May 5.
Text: Joelle Chong, Ilsa Chan and Kymie Hwang
Pictures from Internet and YouTube
The defence lawyers representing the six leaders of City Harvest Church (CHC) have attacked the prosecution's case, saying that no evidence has been produced to show that the accused misused church funds.
This comes after 42 days of trial and evidence from 14 prosecution witnesses.
The defence wants the case thrown out and Chief District Judge See Kee Oon will rule on that on May 5.
Church founder Kong Hee and five of his deputies - Serina Wee Gek Yin, Tan Ye Peng, John Lam Leng Hung, Chew Eng Han and Sharon Tan Shao Yuen - are accused of misusing approximately $50 million of church building funds to boost the music career of Kong's wife, singer Ho Yeow Sun, better known as Sun Ho.
They are accused of doing so through "sham bond investments" in Xtron and Firna and by round-tripping the funds.
A key argument was with regards to how the charges were framed.
The prosecution's case is that the accused were entrusted with the church funds and had full control over them.
But the defence said this was not true. It pointed out that there was no resolution passed by the church board, indicating who were the people who were decision makers and could control the church funds. As such, the defence's point was that the church board decided on the use of church funds as a whole.
The prosecution also charged that the six concealed the true nature of the transactions and documents from their auditors, which was intended to funnel the money from the building fund to fund Ho's career.
Taken together, the documentary evidence laid bare elaborate steps taken to hide their offences. This includes a falsification of the church's accounts.
The six leaders have relied on the auditors' passing of the allegedly suspcious CHC accounts as a defence -- which the prosecution said is misconceived, because their submissions disregarded their own 'deceptive behaviour' in concealing information from the auditors.
Earlier, defence lawyer Andre Maniam, who is acting for Serina Wee, argued that the six leaders had not acted dishonestly... as they were using church money to further the church's objectives, through the Crossover Project, even though the money came from the building fund.
"It's not dishonest and there is no intent to cause wrongful loss to the church. Church money for church purposes, that's all this case is about," he added.
If the judge decides that the prosecution has produced sufficient evidence, the defence will present its case in July.
xinmsn takes you through the series of events and the key players in the City Harvest Case.
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