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City Harvest trial: Church funds used as early as in 2001 to fund Ho Yeow Sun's music career

Published on Jan 14, 2014 3:06 PM

City Harvest Church funds were already used as early as in 2001 to fund the secular pop music career of founder Kong Hee's wife Ho Yeow Sun, court documents showed on Tuesday.

An item in the church's 2001 audit indicated "cost of production - MTV". That audit was managed by Baker Tilly's Ms Tiang Yii, who continued on the stand for a second day as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial against Kong and five others for varying counts of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts.

Ms Tiang was later the engagement partner for the church from January 2006 to June 2007, and for music production firm Xtron from January to December 2007.

Defence counsel Andre Maniam, who represents former church finance manager Serina Wee, argued that Ms Tiang's awareness of such investments meant it would not come as a surprise to her when told by Wee that the church had invested monies from their Building Fund in $13 million bond purchases in Xtron in 2007 and 2008.

However, in a heated cross-examination earlier by defence counsel N. Sreenivasan, who represents the church's deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, Ms Tiang insisted that she had not raised any warnings or red flags because Wee had only told her "verbally", without any corresponding documentation for the church's 2008 financial year audit.

"We didn't have the information at the time; it was all preliminary information gathering," Ms Tiang said. "The agreement that we saw for Xtron's side did not say where the source of the City Harvest Church funds were from ... That's only verbal representation (for) which we have to seek corroborative evidence."

Mr Sreenivasan countered: "So if somebody tells you that $1 million has been stolen, as auditor you will wait for corroborative evidence before you do anything?"