Channel News Asia reports,
City Harvest trial: Sun Ho’s US album release scuppered by investigations, says Kong Hee
SINGAPORE: The start of investigations by the Commercial Affairs Department scuppered plans for the release of Sun Ho’s debut English album, her husband, City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee, told the court on Thursday (Aug 14).
Kong said the album was slated for release in the United States on Aug 17, 2010.
Her team in America had laid out publicity plans to tie in with her album release. This included pitches to appear on popular television shows such as Gossip Girl, Dancing With the Stars and CSI: New York, as well as features in magazines including Vogue and Marie Claire.
She was also supposed to embark on a radio tour, meant to kick off in New York City.
But when Ms Ho was summoned back to Singapore sometime in June 2010 for the investigations, “all the work and money put in over the years (went) down the drain”, Kong said.
“There was no possibility of any recoverability,” said Kong of the costs, adding that Indonesian businessman and long-time church member Wahju Hanafi and his family would have to step in and make good all the losses.
Kong and his deputies are accused of using millions of church dollars to buy sham bonds in two church-linked companies to fund Ms Ho’s secular pop music career as part of the church’s Crossover Project – a way of spreading the Gospel through pop music.
Earlier, Kong said Ms Ho’s album had already been delayed after she had to undergo two surgeries for abdominal adhesions.
Source: By http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/city-harvest-trial-sun-ho/1312268.html, Published 14/08/2014 13:33. (Accessed 14/08/2014.)City Harvest trial: Sun Ho’s US album release scuppered by investigations, says Kong Hee, Channel News Asia,
CHC Trial: Kong Explained Why Sun Ho’s Album Was Never Launched
The court heard this morning why Sun Ho’s US album was delayed and eventually not launched. Kong Hee also explained the events that led to the issuance of Firna bonds.
Kong Hee told the court this morning that this was the reason why the US album was delayed a third time. Ho’s condition was very critical at that time. After a second operation, she recovered and eventually managed to finish recording the album.Sun Ho was hospitalized for six weeks in March or April 2009 because she was critically ill, just a few months before her album was slated to be released that August.
The next scheduled date to release the album was Aug 17, 2010. Her promotional activities, including a radio tour, TV appearances and press opportunities, were supposed to start in June 2010. However, the investigation for this case started in May 31, 2010 and Ho was “summoned” back to Singapore on June 12 or 13. Ho could not go back to US for the album release in the end.
This meant that it was now not possible to recover the cost of the album and Wahju Hanafi, who had pledged to support the Crossover Project, would have to absorb all the losses.
He also told the court that the budget for this album, produced by Johnny Wright, was much more conservative and realistic than Wyclef Jean’s costs. The plan was to release three albums in total, and the first album would have been profitable by the second year after it was released.
HOW THE FIRNA BONDS CAME ABOUT
Earlier this morning, Kong also explained the chain of events that led to the Firna bonds.
By Aug 2008, Xtron had to focus on the property search for City Harvest Church. As shown in the transcript for the Extraordinary General Meeting held on Aug 10, 2008, Kong gave the executive members an update on the search for a building for the church’s new worship location. He also told them about the plan for Xtron to purchase the Riverwalk property. He also explained to them that the plan was for Xtron to eventually help CHC build a “stadium” and lease it to them for worship services.
The court earlier heard that auditor Foong Daw Ching had pointed out in a meeting that because Ho was Kong’s wife and an artiste under Xtron, there was a need to disclose all the transactions between CHC and Xtron. Kong said that they did not want this disclosure because Xtron would not be seen as an independent entity. He had explained earlier that if Xtron was seen as part of CHC, the property owners would not be keen to deal with them.
That was how Ho came out of Xtron’s management and into Hanafi’s company Ultimate Assets to be managed by him independently.
In Chew Eng Han’s statements to the Commercial Affairs Department, he had said that he came up with the idea of buying bonds from Firna, and that Hanafi would use part of those proceeds to support the Crossover Project.
Kong confirmed that Chew, together with Tan Ye Peng, discussed this plan with him. He in turn told them to check with the auditors and lawyers if this plan was acceptable. He told the court that he was never told at any point that the lawyer or auditor was uncomfortable with the plan.
Court resumed at 2.15pm.
Source: The City News Team, CHC Trial: Kong Explained Why Sun Ho’s Album Was Never Launched, CityNews, http://www.citynews.sg/2014/08/%e2%80%8echc-trial-kong-explained-why-sun-hos-album-was-never-launched/, Updated at 3:02 pm 14/08/2014. (Accessed 15/08/2014.)