SINGAPORE - In a strongly worded statement posted on Thursday night, City Harvest Church is disputing the allegations that the church was cheated of $50 million, claiming that the sum was repaid to the church in full with interest.
"It has been suggested that the church has been cheated of $50 million. This is not accurate," said Mr Aries Zulkarnain, the executive pastor and a founding member of the church since its start 23 years ago.
"The $24 million, which went to investment bonds, was returned to the church in full, with interest.
"We didn't lose the $24 million, nor did we lose 'another $26.6m' as alleged. The church did not lose any funds in the relevant transactions, and no personal profit was gained by the individuals concerned," he claimed.
On Wednesday, the church's founding pastor Kong Hee, 47, and four others were charged with misappropriating church funds of over $50 million in order to finance the music career of Kong's wife, Ho Yeow Sun, 42.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, Bobby Chaw, the pastor in charge of missions at CHC, said that the church has been cooperating with the Government to comply with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS)'s code of governance.
"We replaced 50 per cent of our Board with new members. We engaged RSM Chio Lim to do a full internal audit and we have been putting their recommendations into action, and will continue to do so," he said.
He said the church was then surprised when the Commissioner of Charities (COC) suspended the members of the church without prior notice as they had been cooperating with COC for two years since the start of the case.