City Harvest Case: Ho Yeow Sun cleared to resume leadership duties

Commissioner of Charities lifts her suspension

City Harvest Church members on Monday cheered the news that Ms Ho Yeow Sun has been cleared to return to lead the church she co-founded.

She will resume her role as executive director after the Commissioner of Charities (COC) lifted the suspension of her duties ahead of the August deadline, with immediate effect.

"I am very thankful to Jesus that I can resume my executive duties at such a crucial time for City Harvest Church," said Ms Ho, 43, who is married to church founder Kong Hee.

"I am truly glad that I have been fully vindicated."

She added that she was grateful to members for standing by their leaders after she was suspended along with eight other church leaders, including Kong, for alleged misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the church which the COC uncovered in a probe.

While the Commissioner moved to expel the eight from office last month, he decided to allow Ms Ho to continue to play a key role in the church. Her duties include overseeing various departments of the church's full-time staff and ministry volunteers.

Kong said both he and his wife "have always believed there to be absolutely no basis for the suspension orders that were imposed" on Ms Ho, and "we are happy that the COC now appears to share this view".

Church member Eric Kong, 33, a business development manager, said: "We are still waiting for legal proceedings to run their course and this will take some time, so having her back in this much-needed time for the day-to-day running of the church, to help make important decisions, to carry out the mission of the church as its co-founder, is really helpful."

Members have gathered for about two hours every week night since last week to pray for their leadership at the YWCA Fort Canning Lodge at Dhoby Ghaut, ahead of a criminal trial involving six of their leaders.

The six, including Kong, are charged with embezzling more than $50 million of church funds. Their trial begins tomorrow.

Rallying the congregation on Sunday, Kong encouraged parishioners to draw strength from the Bible. He said: "In the coming days, let's not walk by what we hear from the world and what we see around us."

He also said the church will be counting on its advisory committee chairman, Mr A.R. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Centre in New York, to preach to and advise the church.

Kong had also told parishioners in previous weekend services to prepare to go under the spotlight, especially during the first leg of the trial.

The prosecution will kick off the trial with about 10 key witnesses and another nine potential witnesses. The defence team is scheduled to make its case from August to September this year. Provisions are being made for a third leg of the hearing.

dawntan@sph.com.sg

melodyz@sph.com.sg

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