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CHC Trial: John Lam: “False” Entries Not What Prosecution Makes It Out To Be

Prosecution continues to defend its claims of misrepresentation and concealment of information from auditors and board members in cross-examination of John Lam today.

In court this afternoon, the prosecution spent much time cross-examining defendant John Lam from email evidence in order to show that the accused planned to conceal information about the Xtron bonds from the church’s auditors and its board members.

One email exchange, for example, showed defendant Serina Wee suggesting that an entry for Singapore Expo Hall 8 rental expenses be recorded as travelling and salary costs expenses for Sun Ho’s US album production instead.

In that email, Wee explained that it was because part of the bond proceeds, meant for album expenses, had already been spent on rental expenses.

Dogged by the prosecution’s repeated accusation that Wee was proposing false accounting entries in an attempt to deceive the church’s lawyers and auditors, Lam tried using an analogy to present his perspective to the court.

He likened CHC to a company that was trying to secure a bank loan for a construction project. While waiting for the approval of the loan, the company had started on the initial phase of construction, tapping into its general fund in the meantime. Once the loan amount has been secured—even though it was meant for the construction project—part of it would need to be returned to the general fund. Essentially, it was just a matter of cash flow.

As such, he saw no problem with what Wee was proposing.

Deputy public prosecutor Mavis Chionh also questioned why Lam conveyed the impression to his fellow investment committee members that the church was making very safe and conservative investments when he had earlier said that non-investment grade bonds, which the Xtron bonds were, posed a higher risk than investment-grade bonds.

Lam replied that while non-investment grade bonds were risky, these were still safer than equity investments.

Asked why he did not perform due diligence before buying the bonds, Lam said that due diligence would have been carried out if he did not know the company well. In this case, he knew the bond issuing company, Xtron, well and thus he saw no need for it.

Chionh also suggested to the court that the real motive behind CHC’s selection of AMAC Capital Partners as its fund management firm was so that Chew Eng Han could help to conceal the diversion of building fund monies into the Crossover Project.

The court also saw emails in which several of the accused, including Chew, were discussing how to go about reviewing the performance of the church’s investments made through AMAC.

Chionh asked why the fund manager was the one dictating to his clients how his performance should be reviewed.

There was a closed door meeting in court this morning to discuss admission and disclosure of new evidence from Chew which includes a “secret recording” and new email evidence.

Court resumes at 9:30am tomorrow.

Source: The City News Team, CHC Trial: John Lam: “False” Entries Not What Prosecution Makes It Out To Be, CityNews, http://www.citynews.sg/2014/08/chc-trial-john-lam-false-entries-not-what-prosecution-makes-it-out-to-be/, Updated 9:09 pm 05/08/2014. (Accessed 15/08/2014.)