Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/14/2014 18:56 | By Channel NewsAsia

Sharp exchanges at trial of CHC leaders

Sharp exchanges at trial of CHC leaders

Sharp exchanges at trial of CHC leaders

SINGAPORE: Sharp exchanges and multiple objections took place on Tuesday at the trial involving six leaders of the City Harvest Church.

The trial got off to a fiery start with the defence grilling the prosecution witness, who was on the stand for a second day.  

During the cross-examination of the Baker Tilly auditor, it emerged that Ms Tiang Yii was aware that funds were used to further Ms Sun Ho's career from as early as 2001.

Ms Ho's husband and church founder Kong Hee, along with five deputies, is accused of misusing millions of church funds to boost her career.

As Xtron's auditor, Ms Tiang said that it was only in December 2007 that she was aware that the church's money, which was used to purchase Xtron bonds, was used for the production of Ms Ho's music albums.

"You were fully aware that the money that went by way of bonds into Xtron was used for the production of music albums of Sun Ho, spouse of Kong Hee?" asked defence lawyer N Sreenivasan.

"Yes, as at December 2007," Ms Tiang replied.

The defence pointed out that this was why Ms Tiang was not surprised to hear that the church was involved in Ms Ho's English album.

Ms Tiang agreed, adding that was when Serina Wee told her that "the church will be investing its Building Fund monies in the bonds".

"But from the Xtron perspective, when you were told that, in fact, the beneficial owner of the bonds is CHC, it didn't come as a surprise to you that CHC had some involvement with this album project, right?" asked defence lawyer Andre Maniam.

Ms Tiang replied: "Yes, when we were told by Serina Wee that CHC would be investing their Building Fund monies in the bonds."

At one point, the defence chided Ms Tiang as a "bad witness". 

This drew the prosecution's rebuttal that the defence only said so because they did not get the answers they had wanted.

Earlier in the day, Mr Sreenivasan made the point that Ms Tiang's fellow auditor, Mr Foong Daw Ching, had information given by the church.

This was an email dated 21 July 2008 from accused Tan Ye Peng detailing the relationship between Xtron, CHC and AMAC Capital Partners.

Ms Tiang, who was Xtron's auditor then, said she was not aware of this.

Another point made by the defence was that Ms Tiang was not able to do her audit properly, if she did not communicate with Xtron's directors at all.

The defence grilled Ms Tiang on how she tried to distance herself from Mr Foong, who was also a prosecution witness who had testified in the second leg of the trial.  

- CNA/al

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