SINGAPORE - Former City Harvest Church (CHC) finance manager Sharon Tan, one of the six convicted for misappropriating millions in church funds, appeared before the High Court on Wednesday (April 19), asking to start serving her seven-month jail term earlier.
Her request was granted by the court.
This means she will join four others - church founder Kong Hee, deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, former CHC finance committee member John Lam and former CHC finance manager Serina Wee - who are due to surrender at the State Courts on Friday morning (April 21) to start serving their sentences.
On the other hand, former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han was granted a stay of his sentence at the same court hearing.
This means that his jail term of three years and four months will be suspended pending the Court of Appeal's ruling on important questions of law that have arisen in the case.
While the prosecution has applied for the case to be heard by the apex court, Chew said he will also be raising questions of law of his own.
In 2015, the six were sentenced to jail of between 21 months and eight years for varying charges of criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts.
They had misused $24 million from the church's building fund to invest in sham bonds in two private companies. The money was in fact used to fund the pop music career of Kong's wife, Ms Ho Yeow Sun, in a church mission. Another $26 million was later used to cover up their misdeeds.
On April 7, the majority of a three-judge High Court bench allowed their appeal against conviction by reducing their criminal breach of trust charge to a less serious one .
This resulted in their jail terms being slashed to between 3-1/2 years and seven months.
After the verdict, five were allowed to defer the start of their sentences by two weeks. Sharon Tan, who got the lowest sentence, got a two-month deferment after she cited her family's plans to relocate to the United States.
But she changed her mind and on Wednesday, asked the court to let her start serving her prison term earlier.