City Harvest's Kong Hee and 4 others to be charged on Wednesday
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and four others, including former board members, were arrested on Tuesday morning following a probe into financial irregularities of the church by both the police and the Commissioner of Charities (CoC).
Among other things, the CoC found financial irregularities of at least $23 million from the church funds. Its spokesman said the funds were used with the purported intention to finance the wife of pastor Kong, Ms Ho Yeow Sun's secular music career to connect with people.
'There was a concerted effort to conceal this movement of funds from its stakeholders,' said the CoC spokesman.
In a statement, the police named the five: church founder Kong Hee, his deputy, Mr Tan Ye Peng, former board member, John Lam Leng Hung, church investment manager Chew Eng Han, and church finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen.
Two years ago, on May 31 2010, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) started an investigation into certain financial transactions of CHC after receiving information of misuse of CHC funds.
A police spokesman said that after a thorough investigation, the five would be charged with being in a conspiracy to commit criminal breach of trust as an agent. If convicted, each of them could be jailed for life and fined.
Mr Tan, Mr Chew and Ms Sharon Tan, will also be charged with conspiracy to falsify accounts. If convicted, each could be jailed up to 10 years and fined. All five will be charged in court on Wednesday.
In a separate statement, a spokesman for the CoC said it had launched an inquiry into the church on May 31, 2010 under the Charities Act.
Its inquiry revealed misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the church, particularly in relation to the funds that were in the Building Fund which had been raised and earmarked for specific purposes.
The CoC spokesman said: 'The COC is concerned about the misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the Charity.'
With immediate effect, it has suspended the five - along with three others, from holding any post on the church board of management. The three are: executive members Ho Yeow Sun, Kelvin Teo Meng How and Tan Su Pheng Jacqueline. They will be prohibited from taking part or being involved in managing the church, representing it in any matters, or attending any of its Annual General Meetings, Extraordinary General Meetings and Board meetings.
The CoC spokesman added that it will also consider taking further courses of action under the Charities Act against these individuals in order to protect the charitable property of the Charity.
'This may include the removal of these persons from their office as trustee, governing board members, officers, agents or employees of the Charity.'