If the bond transactions at the centre of a criminal trial involving six City Harvest Church leaders are indeed a sham, then the blame must lie with church founder Kong Hee and his deputy Tan Ye Peng, contended its former fund manager Chew Eng Han (picture) yesterday.
This is because they controlled the use of bond proceeds, which went to fund the singing career of Kong’s wife Ho Yeow Sun, said Chew as he took the witness stand for the first day.
Chew, who left City Harvest in 2013 and has no lawyer, said he had structured the bonds according to market practice and ensured fair returns to the buyers and issuers. He also said he had little contact with the church’s auditors and had never conspired to hide the bonds from them.
The six accused persons face three to 10 charges each.
Kong, Tan Ye Peng, Chew, former accountant Serina Wee and former board member John Lam are accused of misusing S$24 million of church-building funds via sham bond investments in two companies, Xtron Productions and PT The First National Glassware. Xtron was a church-linked entity that managed Ms Ho’s career, while the latter is an Indonesian glassware company owned by a church member.
Tan, Chew, Serina Wee and former finance manager Sharon Tan also face charges for alleged misuse of a further S$26.6 million through a series of transactions to cover up the first amount.
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