CHC questions fresh police report by Chew

The City Harvest megachurch (CHC) has questioned a fresh police report by their former fund manager Chew Eng Han alleging fraudulent misrepresentation by eight church members.

CHC executive pastor Bobby Chaw said in a notice posted on the church's website on Thursday that as Chew had not raised any facts to substantiate his allegations, the church's lawyers were of the view that these were "nothing more than 'bare' allegations".

On Monday, Chew, 56, made a report with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) alleging eight church leaders - including founding pastor Kong Hee and his wife, singer-pastor Ho Yeow Sun - had conspired to cheat their congregation and misuse church funds.

Chew is one of six former and current CHC leaders convicted last year of financial fraud. He is also involved in a civil suit with CHC, in which the church is alleging he owes them $21 million in unreturned investments.

Chew, Kong and four other leaders were found guilty of misusing around $50 million of church funds to further the music career of Ms Ho. They were jailed between 21 months and eight years.

Appeals by the six against their sentences and convictions will be heard in September.

The police confirmed a fresh report had been lodged by Chew. "As police investigations are confidential, and the complainant Mr Chew also has an appeal against his conviction and sentence pending adjudication by the Supreme Court, it is inappropriate at this juncture for the police to comment further," a spokesman told The Straits Times.

In the new complaint, Chew is alleging that the eight had misrepresented facts to induce church members to donate generously.

Mr Chaw said Chew e-mailed the church's lawyers on June 30, notifying them of his intention to sue CHC for "various fraudulent misrepresentations which had allegedly caused or induced him to give his efforts and money to CHC".

"Mr Chew claimed he had suffered 'financial damage which is recoverable via a civil suit' and that he was also 'seeking advice' on the other possible steps he could take," Mr Chaw said, adding that CHC had not heard further from Chew.

"Given that the CAD complaint seems to arise from the same facts as Mr Chew's allegations, it appears that the matters raised in his latest complaint have already been raised in the ongoing criminal and civil proceedings.

"While we don't know at this point what CAD will decide, the management and employees of CHC will continue to render our fullest cooperation to the authorities, if called upon."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'CHC questions fresh police report by Chew'. Print Edition | Subscribe