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Singapore, Crime

Ronald Loh
Sunday, Oct 5, 2014

Singapore, Crime

CHC trial: Finance manager sloggeed to solve audit issues

The New Paper | Ronald Loh | Sunday, Oct 5, 2014

She was still working from her hospital bed, even as she was about to give birth to her third son. And after delivering him, she continued working.

City Harvest Church (CHC) finance manager Sharon Tan said this proved she loved her church very much and never had any intention of harming it.

Tan, who is accused of playing a key role in the round-tripping of church funds, said yesterday that she had slogged to protect the church and solve its audit issues.

She said: "All of us worked very hard... to the extent (that) when I had my third son to be ready for delivery, I worked on the hospital bed. When I was discharged, I continued to work."

She told this to the court as her lawyer, Senior Counsel Kannan Ramesh, tried to show during re-examination that his client had not acted with the intention of causing the church any loss.

Tan, CHC founder Kong Hee and four others are accused of misusing millions in church funds. First, money from the church's building fund was allegedly used to fund singer Sun Ho's albums through sham bonds invested in two "shell companies" - Xtron Productions and Firna.

The prosecution's case is that Tan and three of her co-accused then tried to cover up the initial amount by devising and facilitating a "round-tripping exercise" to redeem the bonds.

But Tan maintained the plan to clear the bonds off CHC's books was devised by co-accused Chew Eng Han after the church's auditor, Mr Sim Guan Seng, had raised concerns.

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She said yesterday that the church board had approved of the plan. She added that it had wanted to raise funds to defray the cost of building a new church and not to cover a hole in Xtron.

Mr Ramesh also asked Tan if she had donated to the church's building fund and its other accounts.

Said Tan: "I gave to the building fund knowing that it was not only for the building project, but (also) investment into the Crossover Project."

She added that the Crossover Project, which meant to use Ms Ho's pop music to reach out to the "unchurched", was very important to the church.

"(It) has been the mission of the church to reach out to these countries. We pray about it, we talk about it... in all our conversations.

"I went to participate in the Shanghai and Beijing concerts, where after the performance, Sun (Ho) shared her testimony and I was able to... witness many lives being touched."

Tan also told the court that she had grown up and started her family when she was in the church. She said: "My motive of being involved in all of this was really in the interest of the church..."

Tan was then released from the stand before the hearing was adjourned for the year. The trial will resume on Jan 8 next year.


This article was first published on October 03, 2014.
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