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First witness for City Harvest trial takes the stand

Published on May 15, 2013 12:52 PM
 
One of the witness to take the stand on the first day of the trial, (centre, in red) Lai Baoting, former assistant accountant of the church, arrives at the Subcourt this morning. First witness Lai Baoting said she took instructions on many occasions from accused Sharon Tan to make entries into City Harvest Church's accounts. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

First witness Lai Baoting said she took instructions on many occasions from accused Sharon Tan to make entries into City Harvest Church's accounts.

In her condition statement, Ms Lai, a former assistant accountant at the church, said at times, she "did not know" how certain sums were derived, but simply followed Tan's direction to record entries involving millions of dollars to companies such as Xtron and Amac Capital Partners.

Xtron is a production house that managed Ms Ho Yeow Sun's music career. Amac is owned by another accused Chew Eng Han, and was the investment manager of the church.

Ms Lai joined the church in 2006 and worked under Tan.

Earlier, senior counsel Michael Khoo, who is acting for accused Chew Eng Han, sought clarification from the prosecution about whether the church's Crossover Project equalled Ho Yeow Sun's music career.

Mr Khoo took the position that the Crossover Project is a legitimate project undertaken by the church. The church has said that the project was meant to use Ms Ho's secular pop music to reach out to the "unchurched".

The prosecution clarified that it does not matter if it equals to Ms Ho's music career because the trial is about the unauthorised use of church funds, and the building funds were raised for a specific purpose.