CITY HARVEST TRIAL

Former church finance manager Serina Wee grilled over Sun Ho's pay hike

The prosecution charged that the 2006 decision to increase Ms Ho Yeow Sun's salary was not made by Xtron directors but by her husband Kong Hee (left) and fellow pastor Tan Ye Peng (centre). Wee (right) allegedly wrote the minutes of the supposed boar
The prosecution charged that the 2006 decision to increase Ms Ho Yeow Sun's salary was not made by Xtron directors but by her husband Kong Hee (left) and fellow pastor Tan Ye Peng (centre). Wee (right) allegedly wrote the minutes of the supposed board meeting a year after the date and backdated them for the directors to sign.

Wee's minutes on singer's salary a 'work of fiction', prosecution alleges

THE salary of pop singer Ho Yeow Sun was more than doubled in 2006 - a decision made not by her management company, but by her husband Kong Hee and his fellow City Harvest Church (CHC) pastor Tan Ye Peng.

The prosecution alleged this yesterday as it began its cross-examination of former CHC finance manager Serina Wee.

Wee, 38, Kong, 50, and Tan, 42, are part of a group of six accused of misusing church money to bankroll Ms Ho's secular music career.

They are charged with channelling $50 million from the church's building fund into sham bond investments and covering up the misuse.

The prosecution's allegation centred on January 2006 board meeting minutes from Xtron, Ms Ho's management company.

They show company directors suggesting that her monthly pay be increased from S$7,000 to US$10,000 - about S$16,000 according to exchange rates at the time.

During a blustery exchange, Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong told the court that the minutes had been written by Wee a year after the supposed meeting before being backdated and given to Xtron directors to sign in preparation for an audit.

DPP Ong, citing immigration records of Xtron directors Wahju Hanafi and Choong Kar Weng, called the minutes a "work of fiction", adding: "If there was indeed such a discussion, it certainly didn't take place... because the evidence shows that Mr Hanafi and Mr Choong were not in Singapore on Jan 2, 2006."

Wee, who appeared calm and composed throughout her sixth day on the stand, noted that the conversation between the duo could have occurred on another date. But she conceded that the "idea of increasing (Ms Ho's) salary" did not come from Mr Hanafi.

"So what is missing from these minutes is that when Mr Hanafi suggested increasing Sun Ho's salary, it was because someone else had first suggested it to him. Correct?" asked DPP Ong, to which Wee agreed.

DPP Ong said that this "hidden someone" was Kong or Tan, and Wee again replied yes.

Later, he charged that the reason Wee prepared minutes in such a manner was that she knew the directors would "never withhold their approval to the minutes and supposed decisions" they were given to ratify.

The defence has always maintained that Xtron and CHC had made decisions independently.

DPP Ong added: "I put it to you that... the minutes were really all just for show, to make it appear like the Xtron directors were the ones making decisions when it was really Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng."

Wee disagreed, saying that the final approval from Xtron directors was still required.

The trial continues, entering its 126th day today.

dansonc@sph.com.sg