Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/13/2014 21:25 | By Channel NewsAsia

New prosecution witness takes stand as CHC leaders' trial resumes

New prosecution witness takes stand as CHC leaders' trial resumes

New prosecution witness takes stand as CHC leaders' trial resumes

SINGAPORE: The trial involving six leaders of City Harvest Church resumed on Monday, with a new prosecution witness taking the stand.

Ms Tiang Yii is a public accountant at Baker Tilly, an external audit firm hired by the church.

Church founder Kong Hee and five of his deputies are fighting allegations that they misused millions of dollars belonging to the church, between January 2007 and October 2008.

They are accused of using the money to boost Kong's wife Sun Ho's music career.

There was a media scrum on Monday morning as the couple appeared outside the court. Ms Sun Ho, in a rare appearance, had come to support her husband.

Kong and his deputies -- John Lam, Chew Eng Han, Tan Ye Peng and Serina Wee -- are accused of channelling S$24 million into two companies, Xtron and PT The First National Glassware (Firna), to boost the singer's career.

Chew, Tan, Wee and another deputy -- Sharon Tan -- face a second set of charges, of misappropriating some S$26 million to cover up the first sum.

The focus of the day's hearing was on the S$13 million of Xtron bonds, which the prosecution described as "sham investments".

In August 2007, S$7 million of those bonds were bought by the church.

Xtron's auditor at that time, Ms Tiang Yii, said she had only seen cash flow projections from Xtron indicating the firm was able to redeem the bonds.

She added that she was unaware that Lam and Tan had discussed concerns that Xtron could not redeem the bonds in time.

The court also heard that emails were exchanged between the accused on matters such as reasons why the maturity date of Xtron bonds were lengthened from a two-year period to 10 years.

Now, the prosecution witness said she did not know the reason.

During the hearing, Ms Tiang also testified that the audits were based on the information provided by the church's management board and its accountants.

Because of this, she pointed out that the audits could not be absolutely accurate.

The trial continues. 

- CNA/al

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