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City Harvest warned over fund raising for six accused

At issue is a form seeking donations as 'personal gift' for leaders charged

Published on Aug 22, 2012 12:00 PM
 
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee (centre) and his wife Sun Ho, also known as Ho Yeow Sun, being surrounded by supporters as they exited the court in June. The Commissioner of Charities said it had informed the church that neither it nor its employees may be involved in raising funds for the legal expenses for the accused. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

City Harvest Church has been warned by the Commissioner of Charities (COC) about its employees' efforts to raise funds to pay the legal fees of its leaders facing criminal charges in court.

At issue is a donation form which surfaced this month seeking funds as a "personal gift" to the six people charged so far.

Dated Aug 6, the form states that the donations would be deposited into the bank accounts of two City Harvest Church pastors.

In response to The Straits Times' queries, COC said that it had informed the church that neither it nor its employees may be involved in raising funds for the legal expenses for the accused.

The commissioner also said that it had earlier issued a restriction order to the church's board to stop them from using church funds for the same reason.

City Harvest Church, however, said that the donation form - which had been circulated as recently as last week - was no longer being used.

It said the pastors involved have relinquished their roles in the effort, and added that the church was unaware of any new fund-raising efforts that are currently taking place.

Employees from the church have mounted fund-raising efforts ever since their church leaders were charged in June this year.

 
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Background story

Commissioner of Charities' response

"The Commissioner of Charities' (COC) office had earlier issued a Restriction Order to the Board of City Harvest Church (CHC) to restrict CHC from paying the legal fees of the six accused persons and entering into transactions relating to payment of services to the suspended individuals and their related entities, without the approval of the COC.

The COC has informed CHC that the church and/or its employees should not be involved in raising funds for the legal expenses or setting up a specific fund for this purpose."

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