Monday, 23 November 2015

City Harvest trial: Kong Hee sentenced to 8 years in prison, 5 others get between 21 months and 6 years

Jail terms for Kong Hee, fellow church leaders
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 21 Nov 2015

City Harvest mega church founder Kong Hee was yesterday sentenced to eight years in jail for his role in misusing charity money in a failed attempt to turn his wife into a global pop star.

The other five City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders found guilty last month over what has been labelled by the prosecution as Singapore's biggest charity financial scandal were also handed prison terms.


Deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng was given 51/2 years. Former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han was handed a six-year prison term. For former CHC finance committee member John Lam, it was three years behind bars.

And former CHC accountants Serina Wee and Sharon Tan were given sentences of five years and 21 months, respectively.

The City Harvest Church Leaders sentenced
The sentences range from 21 months' jail for Sharon Tan to eight years' jail for Kong Hee. The sentences meted out yesterday afternoon to each of the leaders were half of what the prosecutors had asked for. http://bit.ly/1HdM52h
Posted by The New Paper on Friday, November 20, 2015


After the 142-day trial that absorbed Singaporeans and caught the world's attention, Judge See Kee Oon told a packed courtroom that the six acted dishonestly, defrauded auditors and betrayed the trust of donors as they illegally used $50 million of the church's building fund to pay for the pop career of Ms Ho Yeow Sun and then covered their tracks.

He agreed with the defence that the six may not have gained financially themselves, and believed they were pursuing the church's interests by trying to attract the "unchurched" through Ms Ho's music.

But the judge highlighted the large sums involved, the serious nature of the offences and the need to deter others.

Ms Ho, whose raunchy music videos and lavish lifestyle had raised eyebrows, was not in court yesterday alongside her husband.

Never charged, she was recently made a pastor of the church, which is now closely monitored by the Commissioner of Charities.

Dear Church,Today in court, Judge See Kee Oon delivered the following sentences on the six in the CHC case:8 years...
Posted by City Harvest Church (Official) on Friday, November 20, 2015


Yesterday, through a post on the church's Facebook page, she urged members to band together and pray for the six.

JUST IN: City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee breaks silence after he was sentenced to 8 years' jail for criminal breach...
Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Friday, November 20, 2015


Later, Kong, on his own Facebook page, wrote that he was saddened by the length of his sentence. He also said the lessons learnt will strengthen the church, which has lost a quarter of its congregation since investigations began in 2010. According to the church's annual report last year, its congregation numbered around 17,500.

The six accused had their bail extended and were informed that their prison terms start on Jan 11. Chew told the court he would appeal against his conviction and sentence. The rest said they would study the judgment first.





#Breaking: The six City Harvest Church (Official) leaders who were convicted of criminal breach of trust and...
Posted by Mothership.sg on Thursday, November 19, 2015





Bail has been extended and they will serve their sentence from January 11, next year
Posted by The New Paper on Thursday, November 19, 2015





【即时】城市丰收教会一案,判刑如下。康希(51岁,城市丰收创办人):坐牢8年周英汉(55岁,城市丰收前基金经理):坐牢6年陈一平(43岁,城市丰收资深牧师):坐牢5年6个月黄玉音(38岁,前城市丰收财务经理):坐牢5年林岭恒(47岁,城市丰收前财务委员会成员):坐牢3年陈绍云(39岁,城市丰收财务经理):坐牢21个月
Posted by Lianhe Wanbao 联合晚报 on Thursday, November 19, 2015






City Harvest trial: Shocked faces after sentencing
All six defendants have 14 days to decide whether to file notice of appeal
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 21 Nov 2015

Shock and disbelief crossed the faces of the six accused City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders yesterday as Judge See Kee Oon handed down prison terms for them.

Making it clear that the church's 51-year-old founder Kong Hee was the mastermind behind the conspiracy to cause wrongful loss to the church and defraud auditors, the judge sentenced him to eight years in jail - the longest of the six.

Calling Kong CHC's spiritual leader, Judge See said he was "the prime mover and driving force for the Crossover", referring to the project to promote his wife's pop career using millions in church funds. "The others looked to him for direction and took their cue from him."

Leaving the courtroom, Kong was mostly silent when surrounded by reporters and cameramen. His wife Ho Yeow Sun was surprisingly not present in court yesterday, at the end of the 142-day trial. When asked why, he could only manage a weak smile.

Today, the protracted five and a half years of investigation and court trial have finally come to an end. I thank the...
Posted by Kong Hee on Friday, November 20, 2015


Later in a Facebook post, Kong wrote: "Unfortunately, I must continue to face some very difficult days ahead." He added that he would study the court's judgment before deciding whether to appeal.

All six have 14 days to file a notice of appeal.

"This afternoon, the sentence has been passed, and naturally I am saddened by the length of it," Kong Hee wrote. http://str.sg/ZR4g
Posted by The Straits Times on Friday, November 20, 2015


After being sentenced, they emerged from the courtroom after frantic discussions with their lawyers. Former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han had bloodshot eyes when he told The Straits Times: "No comment, you already know I want to appeal." He was sentenced to six years' jail.

Judge See said the other accused had "relied heavily" on the 55-year-old's expertise.

Deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, 43, faces a 51/2-year term in prison. Speaking on his behalf, his lawyer N. Sreenivasan said: "This has been a very trying case. He needs to pray, reflect and discern, before deciding what to do."

Tan Ye Peng had a blank look when he left, but he was not the only one who was at a loss for words.

Former CHC finance manager Serina Wee, 38, appeared to be on the verge of breaking down when members of the media approached her.

Her husband, Mr Kenny Low, said: "We are thankful that we are able to have some time to go back and settle our family, and to think about what's ahead."

The court has deferred the start of their sentences to after Christmas, beginning on Jan 11 next year.

Former CHC finance committee member John Lam said this was a "very difficult time".

"But it's quite clear that our faith is in God and we love CHC very much," said the 47-year-old, who was sentenced to three years' jail.

CHC finance manager Sharon Tan had the lightest sentence of 21 months. Her lawyer Paul Seah said he would discuss with her before deciding what to do.


#CHCtrial: Sentences for six City Harvest Church leaders have been delivered with founder Kong Hee given the heaviest jail term among them at 8 years. The judge says the sentences reflected the culpability of each accused person and the role that they played in the entire scandal. Channel NewsAsia’s Kimberly Spykerman with a recap: http://bit.ly/1O7zJdn
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, November 20, 2015


The Commissioner of Charities yesterday made it clear that it would be resuming proceedings - held over because of the trial - to remove the accused from their positions in the church.

They will be barred from acting as board members, trustees or key officers of any charities.

All six were found guilty last month of misusing $50 million in church funds. They had funnelled $24 million into bogus bonds to fuel Ms Ho's career. A further $26 million was used to cover their tracks.

Evidence was presented during the trial to show that the accused, keenly aware of the National Kidney Foundation and Ren Ci charity scandals, decided to shroud their use of the church monies for Ms Ho's career.

Judge See yesterday called the case unique and without precedent, agreeing with the defence's constant refrain that there was "a lack of any personal wrongful gain, any motive of self-interest or enrichment, and the absence of an intent to cause permanent loss" to the church.

The funds were also ultimately returned. But these do not change the fact that the accused were guilty of serious offences and breaches of trust involving large sums of charity money.

"General deterrence must therefore underpin the court's sentencing approach," said the judge, adding he had also considered "wider issues of personal integrity, transparency and accountability".





BREAKING: The sentence for pastor Kong Hee and the rest has been announced!
Posted by Yahoo Singapore on Friday, November 20, 2015





DPP Christopher Ong: "Kong Hee claims to be remorseful and sorry for the criticism the church faces. He has not actually said sorry for his part in the offences." More quotable quotes: http://str.sg/ZRZo
Posted by The Straits Times on Friday, November 20, 2015





7 quotable quotes from Friday's hearing
The Straits Times, 20 Nov 2015

Final arguments for the City Harvest Church (CHC) case were made by both the defence and prosecution in court on Friday (Nov 20).

The defence pleaded for leniency on behalf of the six church leaders, including founder Kong Hee, while the prosecution maintained that they had abused the trust placed in them.

Some church followers started queuing from the wee hours of the morning to attend the session.

Here are some quotes that stood out:

"ALL OF THEM LOVE THE CHURCH AND MEANT NO HARM TO THE CHURCH WHATSOEVER. EVERY CENT THAT WAS DRAWN OUT WENT TO THE CHURCH. NONE OF THE ACCUSED BENEFITED FROM THE PROCEEDS IN A WRONGFUL MANNER."

- Mr Edwin Tong, lawyer for church founder Kong Hee


"HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN THE GOOD CHARACTER OF A SHEPHERD BE GIVEN IF HE IS ALSO A WOLF AT THE SAME TIME?"

-Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Christopher Ong



City Harvest trial: "For the sake of their young children, we plead for them to be spared jail terms," reads a letter signed by 173 current executive members. http://str.sg/ZRkE
Posted by The Straits Times on Thursday, November 19, 2015



"IN THEIR ZEAL, THEY'VE CROSSED CERTAIN BOUNDARIES. BUT FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN, WE PLEAD FOR THEM TO BE SPARED JAIL TERMS."

- Letter from 173 church executive members pleading leniency for the accused


"HIS FAILURE IS THAT HE SHOULD HAVE QUESTIONED, AND HE DIDN'T BECAUSE HE TRUSTED HIS SPIRITUAL LEADERS."

- Mr Kenneth Tan, lawyer for ex-CHC finance committee member John Lam


"SHE'S A FOLLOWER, ALTHOUGH SHE WAS ON THE BOARD FOR A TIME. SHE WAS NOT A PRIEST COMMANDING RESPECT IN COMMUNITY AND WIDER SOCIETY. BEFORE SHE WAS CHARGED, IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT SOCIETY DID NOT EVEN KNOW WHO SHE WAS."

- Mr Andre Maniam, lawyer for ex-finance manager Serina Wee


"KONG HEE CLAIMS TO BE REMORSEFUL AND SORRY FOR THE CRITICISM THE CHURCH FACES. HE HAS NOT ACTUALLY SAID SORRY FOR HIS PART IN THE OFFENCES."

- DPP Christopher Ong on Kong Hee


"IN A WAY, THE SECULAR SYSTEM MIGHT NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND THE SPIRITUAL REASONS FOR THIS PROJECT. IT MAY BE QUITE CONTROVERSIAL AND PEOPLE MAY THINK (KONG'S WIFE, MS HO YEOW SUN) IS TRYING TO GAIN FAME AND ACHIEVE STARDOM BUT THAT'S DEFINITELY NOT THE CASE."

- Mr Tan, who has been with the church for a decade, started queueing outside the State Courts at 3am





'Purpose was to spread Gospel'
By Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times, 21 Nov 2015

They said they did not profit from their crimes, caused no loss to the church, and that members of the congregation were still behind them.

Everything they did, they said, had one overriding purpose - to spread the Gospel.

Yesterday,the six City Harvest leaders convicted of misusing $50 million in church funds, in front of a packed courtroom, urged Presiding Judge See Kee Oon to consider these mitigating factors.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong asked: "How much weight can a claim to have been a good shepherd be given if the person was also a wolf at the same time?"

He said the leaders did not stop at encouraging trust and faith, but also "suppressed dissent" when forcing church member Roland Poon to apologise when he first made allegations about the misuse of funds in 2003.

A stiff sentence would be necessary to deliver a strong message: that any misuse of charity funds will be dealt with severely, the prosecution said.

The case, which involved the largest amount of charity funds ever misappropriated in Singapore's legal history, has shaken public confidence in the charity sector, said Mr Ong.

He said: "It must be made clear that those leading charities, entrusted with the funds, must adhere to the highest standards of integrity and transparency.

"We would descend into chaos if the misuse of charity funds can simply be whitewashed away as mere trifling missteps or understandable overzealousness based on the alleged personal motives."

Earlier, lawyers for five of the six leaders argued against lengthy jail sentences.

Kong Hee's lawyer Edwin Tong said the Crossover Project, central to the church's evangelism, was supported by members who were not "victims of the betrayals of trust", as the prosecution had argued.

He was "not an innately bad person" and had always acted in the best interest of the church.

Mr Tong also said the trial had taken a toll on Kong and his family, including his elderly parents, his two deaf and mute siblings, and his son, aged 10.

John Lam's lawyer Kenneth Tan described his client as "simply a volunteer in the church". Lam's greatest failure, he said, was putting too much trust in his spiritual leaders, such as Kong.

Sharon Tan's lawyer Paul Seah said she did not play a leading role. Similarly, Serina Wee's lawyer Andre Maniam said she was a mere "follower". Tan Ye Peng's lawyer N. Sreenivasan said Tan helped many church members with their problems. Chew, who is representing himself, also said his motive was to do good.




http://bit.ly/1I3Tkoo - Some City Harvest Church (Official) supporters left in tears after the sentences were handed down.
Posted by TODAY on Friday, November 20, 2015





Supporters queue overnight
By Lim Yi Han, The Straits Times, 21 Nov 2015

They arrived as early as midnight to stand in line outside the State Courts for a courtroom seat and to show their support for the City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders.

Even after the six leaders were all sentenced to jail and the mood turned grim, CHC members stuck by them and insisted that even if what they did was wrong, they had good intentions.

"We are sad about the sentences. There was never any malicious intent," said a 39-year-old member who had been with the church for 11 years and wanted to be known only as Mr Tan. He had been in the queue since 3am. "The secular system might not really understand the spiritual reasons for the Crossover Project. Our objective was to reach more un-churched people."

Around 70 people, a majority of them CHC members, were in the queue by 7.15am, when court passes were given out.

City Harvest trial: "I believe (Kong Hee) is a man of integrity even though he has made some mistakes. I also believe he is a patriot for Singapore, in private or in public," says church member Michael Griffin, 63. str.sg/ZatyFor live updates of the trial: str.sg/Zavk
Posted by The Straits Times on Thursday, November 19, 2015


Defence lawyers presented in court a letter signed by 173 executive members of the church, pleading that their leaders be spared jail, adding that they only overstepped "certain boundaries" in their zeal to attract more followers. It read: "We are the ones who have given through tithes, offerings and building funds. We are still here."

Just after 3pm, as Judge See Kee Oon meted out the jail sentences, the 30 or so supporters who could not get a seat and had to stand outside the courtroom were seen checking their smartphones for updates.

CHC member Michael Griffin, the CEO of a corporate training firm who had been in the queue since 5.30am, insisted that Kong was a "man of integrity" even though he may have made some mistakes.

"The church has done wondrous work in the community, here and overseas," said the 63-year-old.

On the church's Facebook page, its pastors, including Kong Hee's wife Ho Yeow Sun, urged members to "band together" and pray for the six found guilty.

Supporters put up messages asking the six to stay strong, but plenty of others praised the jail sentences with posts such as "serves them right" and questioned why church members were still behind those who had broken the law.




I cannot say that I am without sin and I am definitely in a position where I am personally in need of God's grace and...
Posted by CHC Confessions on Friday, November 20, 2015






Trust in integrity of public charities was at stake
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 21 Nov 2015

Eight years, six years, five years and so on - as Judge See Kee Oon read out the sentences passed on all six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders in the hushed silence of Court One, one message rang loud.

When funds are misused, it is not just money that is mishandled, but also trust in the integrity of charitable institutions.

And abusing the public's trust is something that the courts here will not tolerate.

The sentences imposed may be considered stiff by some, considering there was no evidence of personal gain by the accused or loss by the church.

But Judge See said: "It is important as a matter of sentencing policy to deter generally people who are entrusted with charity monies from misusing those monies."

This is because these are serious crimes that trigger "public disquiet or unease" that would, in turn, affect public confidence in large charities, said the prosecution.

In this case, the accused had misused $50 million in church funds. The prosecution pointed out that this was the largest amount of misappropriated charity funds in Singapore's legal history.

CHC is a registered charity. Like all charities, it is given the privilege of soliciting donations. Donors give their hard-earned savings, and trust that the money will be put to its rightful and intended use.

It was not so in this case, and the fallout is clear. Attendance at the megachurch has plummeted and many former members have heaped scorn on CHC online.

The saga has affected the image of the church. Trust, once lost, is not easily earned again.

In 2005, social service veteran Gerard Ee took over the reins of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) after his predecessor T.T. Durai resigned following a scandal involving NKF funds.

Mr Ee left the NKF seven years later, after painstakingly restoring the public image of the charity.

The punishments will go some way in reminding charities the public's trust and their donations must be safeguarded.

Said criminal lawyer Shashi Nathan: "(The sentences) appear to send a right message that people who are in control of money have to be very transparent in how they look after monies which don't belong to them."

The Commissioner of Charities has resumed proceedings to remove the accused from management positions in the church. On its part, the church has put in a new management and board, and its new leaders will hopefully learn from past mistakes.

Additional reporting by Lim Yi Han





City Harvest 'issued illegal loans', court told
Ex-fund manager claims church lent millions at high interest rates; trial to decide if law broken
By K.C. Vijayan, Senior Law Correspondent, The Straits Times, 20 Nov 2015

City Harvest Church (CHC) may have allegedly issued illegal loans worth millions in exchange for high interest rates - according to its former fund manager Chew Eng Han.

This was revealed yesterday, as a judge explained why he has allowed Chew to defend a $21 million civil suit brought against his investment firm by the church.

Chew is also embroiled in a separate criminal trial. He and five other church leaders, including its founder Kong Hee, were found guilty in September of misusing around $50 million of church funds. They are due to be sentenced today.

But 55-year-old Chew, who left CHC in June 2013 after 17 years, is also being sued by the church for $21 million, which was paid over four tranches, in unreturned investments. The money included $4.6 million in interest.

Last October, CHC obtained default judgment against Chew's firm AMAC Capital Partners and separately sought summary judgment against him. But in June, Chew was given the go-ahead to defend his case on condition the $21 million claim was paid to CHC first. He and AMAC appealed to the High Court.

Judicial Commissioner Chua Lee Ming in judgment grounds released yesterday found that Chew could enter his defence unconditionally on three of the tranches worth around $9.5 million. For the fourth tranche worth around $11.5 million, Chew was told to provide $1.5 million security upfront.

According to the court documents, Chew's firm was appointed the church's investment manager in 2007. Two years later, he was approached by one Oh Chee Eng, who hoped that the church could lend money to his firm Transcu Group.

Between March 2009 and the middle of 2010, the church provided 16 tranches of money, to be repaid within a short period. In most cases, the sum was at least $3 million. The interest rates were high.

For instance, in one tranche of $1.5 million, which was given for just a week, the interest rate worked out to 156 per cent a year. In another one-week tranche of $2.35 million, the interest was 52 per cent per annum. Most of the money was paid back by AMAC but for four tranches after Transcu defaulted.

Chew's lawyer A. Rajandran argued that CHC should not be allowed to claim the money since the church had in effect breached the Moneylenders Act by acting as an unlicensed moneylender.

The Judicial Commissioner agreed the loans could hardly have been made for CHC's business as a church and the purpose was "simply to earn a high rate of interest".

He held that for three of the tranches that were the subject of the suit, there was enough evidence to go to trial to decide if the church was breaking moneylending rules. Both Chew and AMAC are appealing against the Judicial Commissioner's ruling on the $1.5 million security to be provided.





Thank you, that's all.
Posted by Mothership.sg on Friday, November 20, 2015





A day after being convicted last month of misusing $50 million in church funds, City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee...
Posted by The Straits Times on Saturday, November 21, 2015





Kong Hee thanks City Harvest Church members for support
He tells worshippers that he and his family are fine and living each day by faith
By Ng Huiwen and Danson Cheong, The Sunday Times, 22 Nov 2015

A day after being convicted last month of misusing $50 million in church funds, City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee apologised to his flock for the "pain and turmoil" they had to endure.

Yesterday, a day after he was sentenced to eight years in jail for the crime, the senior pastor stood on the same sleek stage at the Suntec Convention Centre once again.

In front of a cheering crowd of worshippers who packed the auditorium, he said: "My family and I, we are fine. We are just living each day by faith."

He told them that he appreciated their love and support, and also thanked them on behalf of the other five church leaders who were each sentenced to between 21 months and six years in jail. It was unclear if they were present at yesterday's evening service.

In an address to the congregation today, City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee thanked supporters and said he hopes the...
Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Saturday, November 21, 2015


Deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng was given five-and-a-half years' jail. Former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han was handed a six-year prison term. For former CHC finance committee member John Lam, it was three years behind bars.

And former CHC finance managers Serina Wee and Sharon Tan were given sentences of five years and 21 months, respectively.

Judge See Kee Oon, who handed out the sentences, had described 51-year-old Kong as the mastermind behind the conspiracy to cause wrongful loss to the church: "It was from him that the other accused persons sought approval and guidance."

So far, only Chew has indicated he will appeal. The other five are considering their options.

Yesterday evening's church service began with a band leading the worshippers, many of whom seemed to be in their 20s and 30s, through several upbeat worship songs, before Kong went up on stage.

"I know that this is a painful time, not just for us... but also for everyone associated to this ministry. As this court trial has come to a close, I pray that all the pain and turmoil for you will come to an end."

He also told the church members that because of the trial, he "should not be preaching" this weekend - before inviting Australian pastor Phil Pringle on stage.

Kong's wife, Ms Ho Yeow Sun, appeared briefly, as Mr Pringle prayed for the couple together with church members. Later, Kong invited CHC pastor Bobby Chaw and investment committee chairman Rick Chan on stage.

Before the congregation, the duo highlighted a story published in The Straits Times about the church's ongoing civil suit against its former fund manager Chew .

The church is seeking $21 million in unreturned investments, including $4.6 million in interest, from Chew and his firm AMAC Capital Partners. The Straits Times had reported on the High Court's decision to allow Chew to defend himself against the CHC's claim.

Chew's lawyer, Mr A. Rajandran, had argued that CHC should not be allowed to claim the money as the church had, in effect, breached the Moneylenders Act by acting as an unlicensed moneylender.

Judicial Commissioner Chua Lee Ming agreed the loans could hardly have been made for CHC's business as a church and the purpose was "simply to earn a high rate of interest".

Addressing the congregation, Mr Chan gave the church's side of the story. "Many attempts were made by us to recover these investments... Eng Han even gave us a personal guarantee and agreed to an increased rate of interest for these investments. However, despite over four years of negotiation, we were unable to reach any satisfactory resolution."

He referred church members to statements posted on its website on the matter, denying the allegation by Chew that the church had breached the Moneylending Act.

"The board is doing its best to protect the interests of the church," said Mr Chan.





Chew Eng Han: 'It seems like I've got so many enemies'
By Danson Cheong, The Sunday Times, 22 Nov 2015

Chew Eng Han has been called many things. A traitor for breaking with City Harvest Church (CHC) and exposing its inner circle in court. Others call him courageous.

By his own admission, the 55-year-old investment manager is just a tired man.

"It seems like I've got so many enemies," he told The Sunday Times. "So many battles, I've got to fight so many people."

His fund management business has gone belly up. He is being sued for $21 million in unreturned investments by CHC. And the 142-day corruption trial ended on Friday with him and five other former and current church leaders sentenced to prison.

Chew now faces six years in jail.

Chew Eng Han of City Harvest Church has been called many things - some called him a traitor, others called him courageous. http://str.sg/ZRcJ
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, November 22, 2015


The only one who received a longer sentence - eight years - was Kong Hee, the church's 51-year-old founding pastor. Last month, the six were convicted of misusing $24 million in church funds to bankroll the secular music career of Kong's wife, singer-pastor Ho Yeow Sun. A further $26 million was later used to cover up their tracks.

Judge See Kee Oon made it clear Chew shouldered a lot of the blame alongside Kong. In his written judgment, he called them "kindred spirits" who "fuelled each other's drive, one as a spiritual leader and the other as a finance expert".

On Friday, the judge said Chew's role as the church's investment manager meant several of the other accused relied on his opinion.

Chew was, after all, responsible for devising the bonds - which the court has declared as sham - through which the church's money was funnelled to the Crossover Project, which aimed to use Ms Ho's pop music to evangelise to the unchurched.

But Chew continues to insist that the bonds were legitimate. Instead, Crossover was the sham, he said pointedly during the interview, which took place before he was found guilty.

"We expected to make money from (Sun Ho's albums), and Sun was meant to get souls saved; this was the best thing the church would ever do. But, as it turns out, the album was a sham. The Crossover was a sham. The bond was a good bond - what went on behind the scene made it look like a sham."

The Crossover Project started in 2002, said Chew, seven years after he joined CHC. "Kong Hee said Sun Ho was making inroads among youth through her concerts."

Kong told the church God gave him the vision for the project, and it was a sacred mission, said Chew, one he initially believed in.

"I thought we were shaking Christians out from their slumber."

In 2003, church member Roland Poon went public with accusations that donations meant for CHC's building fund were being misused to fuel Ms Ho's music career.

And this, said Chew, prompted Kong to decide to distance the church from his wife's music career, at least on paper. And he had the church's backing, added Chew.

"Not everything done in secrecy is a conspiracy," he said, pointing out that members were told at church of the thousands of souls being saved at Ms Ho's concerts. To him, CHC seemed "so different from other churches, always at the forefront of new things".

Even when Ms Ho started raising eyebrows by gyrating in skimpy clothing in her music videos, Chew believed in the mission. "Deep inside, I was a bit uncomfortable, but I didn't express this because of my loyalty to Kong Hee and Sun."

That belief started to falter when he and 16 others from the church were questioned by the Commercial Affairs Department in 2010. He managed a glance at Kong while the latter was inside an interview room. The pastor met his eyes, then looked down. Later, in a meeting with the church's lawyer, Chew described how Kong kept silent, in stark contrast to how he reacted to the Poon incident seven years earlier. Kong had gone on the offensive then, announcing to the church that "not a single cent" was used to promote Ms Ho's pop career.

A report by the Commissioner of Charities (COC) later revealed that between December 2007 and May 2010, at least $2.1 million of church funds had been channelled through an affiliate church in Kuala Lumpur to Crossover.

The report also said church donations were transferred to a private fund, called the multi-purpose account. Through this account, money would be transferred to Kong - around $600,000 allegedly went to him this way.

Chew claimed in court that Kong was more interested in personal gain than the church.

He told The Sunday Times he had confronted Kong about the COC report in a private meeting in March 2013. "Several times... Kong said, 'Let's forget about everything that we are talking about. I just want to know are we good or not... Are you still on my side or not?' "

But Chew urged Kong to talk to CHC's board and executive members - to "just apologise and repent". When Kong did not, Chew quit the church after being a member for 17 years. Chew added that he bears "no grudge in my heart". But he hopes his departure would send a signal to other members and get them to think about the church more critically.

These days, strangers do come up to him to wish him well. One even paid for his meal at a Japanese restaurant and left him two Bible verses for encouragement.

"They actually thank me for having the courage to speak up," said Chew, who intends to write a book about his experience "once this is over". "It will make a good movie," he added with a smile. But it may be a while before the saga is over.

On Friday, he told the court that he will appeal against both the guilty verdict and his sentence.




In a two-hour interview with The New Paper on Sunday, former City Harvest Church fund manager Chew Eng Han let fly about...
Posted by The New Paper on Saturday, November 21, 2015





CHC was 'the ultimate church'
By Danson Cheong, The Sunday Times, 22 Nov 2015

City Harvest Church (CHC) played a big part in Chew Eng Han's life. He claims it was where his wife was "delivered from demons".

The couple joined the church in 1995 after being taken to a prayer session by his nephew. Church services were then held at the old Hollywood theatre in Tanjong Katong. The congregation was only 1,300-strong, but growing fast. A year later, it had doubled. Now, it stands at more than 17,000.

Chew told The Sunday Times that his wife's father had been a medium and she, too, had dabbled in the occult. She would suffer "attacks" and have no control over her actions.

During one CHC session to help her in 1996, she did a handstand suddenly. "We were shocked," he said. Chew said Ms Ho Yeow Sun, the wife of founding pastor Kong Hee, "prayed for two hours and cast the demons out".

The couple's belief strengthened. Chew's daughters, who are 15 and 25, also grew up in the children's church of CHC.

Chew rose quickly through the ranks. He was appointed to the church board in 1998, eventually becoming vice-president and treasurer.

Chew attributes this partly to how he was donating $1,000 to the church each month. He said a pastor "asked me if I knew that the tithe is only 10 per cent. I said 'yes', and that I was earning $10,000".

Chew said he went on to become the Singapore CEO of State Street Bank, making $400,000 a year. He later quit to set up a fund management firm, Amac Capital Partners.

When his business flopped because of the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2007, Chew said church projects gave him purpose. At that time, Amac was CHC's fund manager.

"We thought CHC was the ultimate church," he said.




http://bit.ly/1jelJS4 - “Given that CHC is accountable to its members and is a registered charity at law, our remaining...
Posted by TODAY on Sunday, November 22, 2015





Ex-fund manager Chew Eng Han counters claims
In a post on a blog, Chew Eng Han rebuts allegations made against him by church
By Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times, 24 Nov 2015

Former City Harvest Church (CHC) fund manager Chew Eng Han has rebutted allegations made against him by the church during its weekend services.

Yesterday, in a reply posted on a blog, Chew, who is being sued by the church for $21 million in unreturned investments, said he had been silent since the start of the suit and it was time to reveal the "half-truths and lies".

At Saturday evening's service, the church's investment committee chairman, Mr Rick Chan, said: "Many attempts were made by us to recover these investments... Eng Han even gave us a personal guarantee and agreed to an increased rate of interest for these investments.

"However, despite over four years of negotiations, we were unable to reach any satisfactory resolution."

Time to reveal the "half-truths and lies", says Chew Eng Han in rebuttal to allegations made against him by the church. http://ebx.sh/1PWYDfG
Posted by The Straits Times on Tuesday, November 24, 2015


But Chew countered that he had been "duped" by the church into signing a personal guarantee (PG) for the investments in the church's Special Opportunities Fund (SOF).

According to court documents, the church had provided 16 tranches of high-interest loans of at least $3 million to Transcu Group from 2009 to 2010. Chew's firm, AMAC Capital Partners, was appointed the church's investment manager in 2007. While most of the money was paid back by AMAC, it could not do so for four tranches as Transcu had defaulted on the loans.

Chew yesterday gave his account of the negotiations behind the repayment plan to recover losses in these investments, to counter the impression that he had "refused to bear responsibility and refused to engage in reasonable discussions".

He said CHC board members were reluctant to sign the plan last year, as it had a section documenting the board's knowledge and approval of the investments.

Chew had tried to include this section after learning that board members had "feigned ignorance" about the SOF. He noted that the board had portrayed him "as some untamed fund manager who had put monies into the SOF without explaining to the board about the underlying nature and risks".

Calling this a "twisted distortion", he said the court had found board members to have full knowledge from the beginning of the SOF.

The civil suit was a shock to him, he said, as he heard nothing from the church about the repayment plan he submitted. He said up till early last year, he had made repeated requests for the church to arrange a meeting with the Commissioner of Charities to explain the troubled investments. But it did not do so.

Chew added: "I was duped by them to sign a PG on the basis that it would apparently provide a reason for them to hold off the Commissioner of Charities' pressure."

He said he signed the guarantee after CHC pastor Bobby Chaw assured him that the church did not intend to enforce it. Chew was one of six CHC leaders given jail terms last Friday for the misuse of church funds.





JUST IN: Prosecution in the City Harvest Church trial appeals against the "manifestly inadequate" sentences against the...
Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Thursday, November 26, 2015







The prosecution in the City Harvest Church case has appealed against the sentencing of the six individuals.
Posted by Yahoo Singapore on Thursday, November 26, 2015





Longer jail terms sought for leaders of City Harvest

Prosecution says sentences are 'manifestly inadequate'; three of six to file own appeals
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 28 Nov 2015

After a 142-day trial that ended with six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders jailed for fraud involving millions of dollars, lawyers on both sides are gearing up for another court battle.

Yesterday, the prosecution filed notices of appeal against the prison terms of all six, describing them as "manifestly inadequate".


City Harvest trial: Prosecution appeals against 'manifestly inadequate' sentences. Catch up on the case with our videos on the verdict (str.sg/ZRro) and why it matters (str.sg/ZRr4).
Posted by The Straits Times on Thursday, November 26, 2015


In turn, three of those found guilty, including founding pastor Kong Hee, confirmed they too would submit their own appeals.

"Whilst I respect the court's decision, there are points which appear to be erroneous and warrant appeal," said Kong, who will appeal against both the guilty verdict and the length of his sentence, in a Facebook post yesterday evening.

He said the road ahead was "long and arduous" but asked church members to pray for a "favourable outcome".

The 51-year-old was held by Judge See Kee Oon as the most culpable for the misuse of $50 million in church funds, almost half of which was spent on illegally funding the pop music career of his wife Ho Yeow Sun.

Judge See sentenced him to eight years in jail, the longest term among the six accused. The prosecution, however, had sought a term of 11 to 12 years.


"Whilst I respect the Court's decision, there are points which appear to be erroneous and warrant appeal," he said.
Posted by The Straits Times on Friday, November 27, 2015


In a statement yesterday, the Attorney-General's Chambers said: "The prosecution is of the view that the sentences imposed are manifestly inadequate, in all the circumstances of the case."

Senior Counsel N. Sreenivasan, who is representing deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, 43, also confirmed yesterday that his client, who has to serve 51/2 years behind bars, is filing an appeal.

Former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han, 55, who was sentenced to six years in prison, had already indicated earlier that he was appealing against both his conviction and sentence.

When asked about the prosecution's decision to push for even longer jail terms, Chew told The Straits Times yesterday: "As I've said openly in court before, the prosecution has been very vicious."

The prosecution had urged the court to impose a sentence of 11 to 12 years in Chew's case.

Others found guilty are still in the midst of examining their options.

Mr Kenny Low, husband of former CHC finance manager Serina Wee, told The Straits Times it was still "too soon to comment". The 38-year-old Wee received a sentence of five years in jail.

Lawyer Paul Seah, who is defending former CHC finance manager Sharon Tan, 40, said: "We are discussing the developments with her and she will decide whether or not to appeal by next week."

She received 21 months in jail.

Former CHC finance committee member John Lam, who received a three-year sentence, did not respond to repeated calls and e-mail.

The prosecution had asked for much stiffer terms for each of them, citing several aggravating factors, and the need to deter similar crimes involving charity funds from happening in future.

But while Judge See agreed on the need for deterrence, he was mindful that it did not "simply entail the imposition of disproportionately crushing sentences".

The defence has up to next Friday to file a notice of appeal.

Other lawyers say the prosecution's move yesterday to push for longer sentences would likely force the defence to submit appeals of its own.

Veteran criminal lawyer Amolat Singh said: "They have no choice but to also put in their appeals, otherwise they might miss out on the chance of arguing whether there should be a lighter sentence."

But this legal battle should not be as long drawn out as the initial trial.

"We are probably looking at an appeal date within six months. The actual appeal will take one or two days," said criminal lawyer Sunil Sudheesan.




BREAKING: "Whilst I respect the Court’s decision, there are points which appear to be erroneous and warrant appeal. I...
Posted by Yahoo Singapore on Friday, November 27, 2015





All of a sudden, an important Christian martyr's story is relevant to Kong Hee.
Posted by Mothership.sg on Friday, November 27, 2015





Here's an update to the City Harvest Church (Official) leaders' case: they've formally said they would like to appeal both the Court's verdict and sentence against them.We explain what this means:
Posted by Mothership.sg on Wednesday, December 2, 2015





All six are filing appeals against both their convictions and sentences.
Posted by The Straits Times on Tuesday, December 1, 2015






City Harvest leaders to contest verdicts

All six sentenced to jail for misusing $50m in church funds will also appeal against their punishments
By Lim Yi Han and Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times, 3 Dec 2015

All six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders sentenced to jail for misusing church funds have told the courts that they will appeal against both the guilty verdicts and punishments.

Nearly all agreed that the prosecution's decision to push for longer sentences played a part in their decision to appeal.

First to show up at the State Courts yesterday afternoon was CHC founder Kong Hee. Then the rest of those found guilty of misusing $50 million of the church's money arrived, one by one.

Kong, 51, received the heaviest sentence of eight years on Nov 20, with Judge See Kee Oon painting him as the mastermind of the scheme to misuse church money to fund the pop music career of his wife Ho Yeow Sun and then cover this up. He declined to speak to reporters after arriving alone at 2pm.

He was the only one whose bail was increased - by $500,000 to $1.5 million - as he indicated that he will be travelling overseas. The rest are on bail ranging from $750,000 to $1 million.

City Harvest verdict: All six sentenced to jail for misusing $50m in church funds will also appeal against their punishments.
Posted by The Straits Times on Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Former CHC finance committee member John Lam, who was sentenced to three years in jail after the lengthy 142-day trial, arrived shortly after Kong. The 47-year-old said the prosecution's decision to push for higher sentences helped sway him towards making his appeal.

Last Friday, the prosecution described the sentences as "manifestly inadequate". During the trial, it called for a deterrent sentence - highlighting the huge sums of money involved and the fact that it involved a registered charity.

Former finance manager Sharon Tan's lawyer Paul Seah also said that the prosecution's appeal was one of the reasons behind the 40-year-old's decision to contest the judgment and her 21-month jail term, the shortest of the six.

Deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, 43, who was given a 51/2-year prison term, said the prosecution's appeal was "one of the considerations" in his decision to appeal.

Former finance manager Serina Wee was the last to arrive at about 2.20pm. When asked for her thoughts, Wee, 38, who faces a five-year jail term, said: "We're just here to process the appeals."

Chew Eng Han, the 55-year-old former church board member who was given six years in prison by the judge, told the media: "I decided to appeal since the day of the verdict and nothing has changed."

Each of them had been set to start their jail terms on Jan 11. Now, the court will serve the record of proceedings to the parties on Jan 4.

Within two weeks of that date, the six guilty parties have to file a petition of appeal at the State Courts. The High Court will then inform the parties of the hearing dates of the appeal. If any of them fail to file the petition by Jan 18, their appeal will be withdrawn and the court will enforce its sentence.





The six convicted former leaders of City Harvest Church (Official) have filed notices of appeal against both their conviction and sentences.(Via TODAY)
Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday, December 2, 2015





* City Harvest accused, prosecution file appeals
Charity financial scandal case enters final phase, with appeal hearing likely by year-end
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 19 Jan 2016

The marathon City Harvest Church (CHC) case has entered its final chapter, with the prosecution and all six defendants officially filing their petitions of appeal.

Parties confirmed with The Straits Times that they had filed their petitions. The deadline was 5pm yesterday.

An appeal date has not yet been set but it will likely take place before the end of the year.

Public Prosecutor confirmed to have filed its appeal in City Harvest case. It had earlier called the sentences imposed on the six accused 'manifestly inadequate'.
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, January 17, 2016


Last October, the six accused were found guilty of misusing some $50 million in church funds.

The funds were used to further the music career of pastor-singer Ho Yeow Sun, the wife of church founder Kong Hee. This was done by funnelling $24 million into sham bonds to bankroll Ms Ho's career. The accused then misused a further $26 million to cover their tracks.

Apart from Kong, the other five accused are - deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, 43; former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han, 55; former CHC finance managers Serina Wee, 39, and Sharon Tan, 40; and former CHC finance committee member John Lam, 47.

All six drew jail terms of between 21 months and eight years. Kong, 51, got the heaviest sentence as the mastermind of Singapore's largest charity financial scandal.

Near the end of last year, both the defence and prosecution filed notices of appeal, which is an indication to the court that they intended to appeal.

The prosecution called the sentences imposed on the six accused "manifestly inadequate", and wanted harsher punishment to deter such crimes.

It asked the court for sentences ranging from five to 12 years.

"The prosecution will be proceeding with the appeal against the sentences imposed on the six accused persons, and we have accordingly filed our Petition of Appeal on Jan 15," a spokesman for the Attorney-General's Chambers said yesterday.

JUST IN: The prosecution will be proceeding with its appeal against the sentences of the six convicted leaders of City Harvest Church (Official).
Posted by Channel NewsAsia on Sunday, January 17, 2016


The defendants or their lawyers arrived separately in court yesterday to file their appeals against both their guilty verdicts and sentences.

Bail for all six has been extended pending the appeal. They previously posted bail of between $750,000 and $1.5 million.

Kong had previously said that while he respected the court's decision, he was appealing because "there are points which appear to be erroneous and warrant appeal".

Meanwhile, Chew said he is "positive" when asked about his chances - he is facing six years in prison, the second-highest sentence.

All parties are waiting for an appeal date to be set by the High Court.

Lam's lawyer, Mr Nicholas Narayanan, said: "We have received no indication as to when the appeal hearing will take place."





The appeals will be heard by a panel tentatively comprising Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, Justice Woo Bih Li and...
Posted by The Straits Times on Monday, January 25, 2016










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