City Harvest Church Trial is Back
This has dragged on for some time. Donations to the church ended up as funds to boost Kong Hee’s wife’s singing career in the US. Some of the money went into a $28,000 / month rental for a Hollywood mansion. Astonishing extravagance if you think that the money is better spent on charity.
The CHC argument is that Sun Ho’s singing career, the Crossover, was open and public, and intended to be evangelical, not personal. Besides, the church goers donated willingly and there was no ceorcion or corruption. The prosecuters and public differ in their views. CHC has its critics and C3 Church Watch is one vocal watchdog site with its occasional insights on CHC, exposing what the blog thinks is hypocrisy, the absurdness of the prosperity gospel Kong Hee endorses, and his ties with an Australian pastor Phil Pringle who is in the same industry. There should be no doubt about it, the way such churches collect money from their flock, it is an industry.
There are occasional demonstrations that religious groups want exceptions to the secular norm in Singapore. In this case, the church can do whatever it wants with its donations as the churchgoers don’t mind, although these practices of funneling donations about is not accepted and even criminal in secular business practice.
SINGAPORE: The trial involving the six leaders of City Harvest Church resumes on Monday with a new prosecution witness, Ms Tiang Yii.
She is a public accountant at Baker Tilly which used to audit the church’s accounts.
Church founder Kong Hee and five of his deputies are accused of misusing millions of dollars belonging to the church, between January 2007 and October 2008.
Kong Hee, 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 singer Sun Ho’s career.
Ultimate Assets was a third firm identified by the prosecution that was allegedly used as a financial vehicle.
Firna and Ultimate Assets are owned by Mr Wahju Hanafi whom the prosecution is alleging has close ties to the church.
Chew Eng Han, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee and Sharon Tan face a second set of charges — misappropriation of some S$26 million to cover up the first sum.