City Harvest trial: Indonesian donor Wahju Hanafi moved by church's teachings

Their friendship blossomed over a dinner to thank him for his $1 million donation to the church.

On Friday, details of City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee's ties with long-time church member and donor Wahju Hanafi emerged in court as the criminal trial against Kong and his five of his deputies continued.

The six church leaders were charged last year with misusing about $50 million worth of church funds. Two firms are accused of helping them to do so. Mr Hanafi, an Indonesian businessman, was director of one firm and owner of the other.

Mr Hanafi, 53, is also owner or managing director of a string of companies in Papua New Guinea, where he is based, Indonesia and other regional countries. He joined City Harvest in 1990 when he moved his family to Singapore.

Questioned by the state on his relationships with the church and the six accused, he credited City Harvest with changing him as a person, and said he was so moved by its teachings that he paid back 10 years' worth of evaded taxes. "The church taught me principles like work hard, be honest, have integrity. Pastor (Kong) told me to do business with integrity."

Mr Hanafi said he was also old friends with another of the accused, John Lam Leng Hung, who was his family's first cell group leader. The state is expected to question him on financial transactions at the heart of the criminal case when he next takes the stand.