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Crime

Feng Zengkun
Saturday, Apr 12, 2014

Crime

Accused fed auditors a pack of lies: Prosecution

The Straits Times | Feng Zengkun | Saturday, Apr 12, 2014

Mr Andre Maniam said his client, Serina Wee, had not been dishonest and could not be guilty of criminal breach of trust since the "church money was used for church purposes".

The prosecution in the City Harvest Church case mounted a stinging rebuttal yesterday as it sought to prove it had presented enough evidence for the trial to continue.

Tearing into arguments by the defence, Chief Prosecutor Mavis Chionh strived to show again that the six accused had varyingly cooked deals to misuse church funds, "fed a pack of lies" to auditors and "created false appearances in City Harvest's books".

"There is clearly enough evidence for the defence to be called," she said, after taking the court through a summary of the prosecution's case.

She was responding to defence lawyers who had argued that, despite 42 days of trial since last May and 14 prosecution witnesses, the prosecution had failed to show enough evidence for the charges against their clients.

The defence wants the case thrown out. The judge will rule on that on May 5.

Church founder Kong Hee and five others are accused of misusing about $50 million in church funds in total. While their lawyers had consistently said auditors vetted and approved allegedly suspicious transactions, Ms Chionh said relying on this defence was "misconceived at best and disingenuous at worst" as the prosecution believes the accused hid information from the auditors.

She pointed to church auditor Sim Guan Seng, who had said earlier in the trial that he would have "raised some red flags" about certain transactions had he been privy to more information.

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