Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 05/05/2014 15:27 | By Channel NewsAsia

City Harvest leaders have case to answer, says judge

City Harvest leaders have case to answer, says judge

City Harvest leaders have case to answer, says judge

SINGAPORE: The founder of City Harvest Church Kong Hee and his five deputies, accused of misusing millions of church building funds, have decided to testify in their own defence.

This follows the Presiding Judge of the State Courts See Kee Oon's decision on Monday that the six have a case to answer.

Kong Hee and his five deputies are accused of misusing $24 million of church funds to finance the music career of Ms Sun Ho, wife of Kong Hee.

Four of the six are also accused of misappropriating $26 million to cover up the first sum.

After 42 days where the prosecution introduced evidence to build its case, Judge See decided that the six leaders have a case to answer to.

In his oral grounds, the judge accepted that there was a plan to move money from the church's Building Fund to Xtron Productions and glassware firm Firna (or PT The First National Glassware), for the purpose of funding Ms Ho's singing career.

The court accepted that there is evidence to show that the monies were moved from the church to the various firms to generate a false appearance that the church's investments were redeemed.

The judge said the six had been dishonest in the use of the money.

Previously, the defence had argued that auditors had approved the various transactions, given that they signed off on the relevant financial periods.

They also said the movement of funds was part of "refinancing".

But Judge See said the auditors' opinions were "only as good as the information they were given".

So far, the defence says it has not firmed up its list of witnesses but all six accused have chosen to testify in their own defence.

The trial will resume on 14 July.

- CNA/nd/ir

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