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We are trying to catalogue what is said on various media outlets to discover what is revealed in the Singapore courts. Different news groups focus on different information emerging from court procedures. Therefore, it is our hope that we can provide readers with:

1. as much detail of the case as possible;
2. articles that news groups may remove over time;
3. act as a resource for curious readers; and
4. a tool full of Christian and secular articles on this case that outreach to Christian brothers and sisters to leave these controlling mega-cults.

If we have missed a news article, please email us.

Asia One reports,

Chew to Kong Hee: You didn’t give to church 

You defrauded donors by hiding hundreds and thousands of dollars your wife took from the donations as her music royalties, bonuses and salaries.

This was one of many accusations that former City Harvest treasurer Chew Eng Han threw at church founder Kong Hee in court yesterday.

Now, Chew is trying to show that Kong was a liar and more deeply involved than he let on about the alleged misuse of around $50 million of the church’s money, and someone more interested in personal gain than City Harvest’s interests.

While cross-examining Kong, who was taking the stand, Chew told the court about a church account which donors, including himself, had contributed to.

The account was set up in 2006 to support Kong and his wife Ho Yeow Sun when they went off the church’s payroll to do mission work, and to pay for expenses in the church’s Crossover Project, which uses Ms Ho’s music to evangelise.

But the couple took out about $450,000 to $500,000 each year between 2007 and 2009 as Ms Ho’s music artiste salary, bonuses and royalties.

A year after this led to a deficit of slightly more than $500,000 in 2009, Kong called a meeting of the donors. He told them how much more they could donate to make up for the shortfall.

“We were quite troubled that our giving was not enough to support your ministry, so we decided to give more,” Chew, 54, told Kong.

“But there was never actually a deficit in 2009. The deficit came after you stripped out royalties and salaries and bonuses that went to Sun.”

Chew claimed that Kong never revealed to donors that hundreds and thousands of dollars were going to pay his wife.

When he asked Kong why, the 49-year-old pastor seemed emotionally drained when he replied: “I didn’t have the chance to check with my wife if she wants to reveal her salaries and royalties, and we have a culture in City Harvest Church, as in many companies, of keeping our income as confidential as possible.”

Chew said flatly in return: “These are the givers that are closest to you, your greatest supporters…

“One of the reasons I left the church is that when I look at this, I realised that you deceived the people closest to you.”

He added that this was just one of several “lies” by his former spiritual mentor.

Chew claimed that attendance figures for City Harvest services had been “falsified” and “grossly exaggerated”. He pointed to BlackBerry messages by church members that suggested the actual attendance was around 12,000 a week, not 28,000 as Kong had claimed.

Kong denied this, saying that the 12,000 figure referred to the tally of cell-group church members and not the total attendance.

“Cell-group figures are usually about 60 per cent or even lesser of the church’s final attendance, if you include walk-ins and visitors,” said Kong.

But Chew hit back, saying incredulously: “Are you saying that every week about 40 per cent of the attendees are new walk-ins that are not related to the cell-group members?”

Chew summed up his cross-examination of Kong yesterday by pointing out 10 ways the senior pastor had apparently failed the church, adding: “You do not love the church, as in its people, and you are not that concerned about the church suffering losses.”

Source: Ronald Loh, Asia One Singapore, http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/kong-defrauded-donors#sthash.2EpffDED.dpuf, Friday, Aug 22, 2014. (Accessed 23/04/2014.)

Asia One also reported,

Kong ‘defrauded donors’

You defrauded donors by hiding hundreds and thousands of dollars your wife took from the donations as her music royalties, bonuses and salaries.

This was one of many accusations that former City Harvest treasurer Chew Eng Han threw at church founder Kong Hee in court yesterday.

Now, Chew is trying to show that Kong was a liar and more deeply involved than he let on about the alleged misuse of around $50 million of the church’s money, and someone more interested in personal gain than City Harvest’s interests.

While cross-examining Kong, who was taking the stand, Chew told the court about a church account which donors, including himself, had contributed to.

The account was set up in 2006 to support Kong and his wife Ho Yeow Sun when they went off the church’s payroll to do mission work, and to pay for expenses in the church’s Crossover Project, which uses Ms Ho’s music to evangelise.

But the couple took out about $450,000 to $500,000 each year between 2007 and 2009 as Ms Ho’s music artiste salary, bonuses and royalties.

A year after this led to a deficit of slightly more than $500,000 in 2009, Kong called a meeting of the donors. He told them how much more they could donate to make up for the shortfall.

“We were quite troubled that our giving was not enough to support your ministry, so we decided to give more,” Chew, 54, told Kong.

“But there was never actually a deficit in 2009. The deficit came after you stripped out royalties and salaries and bonuses that went to Sun.”

Chew claimed that Kong never revealed to donors that hundreds and thousands of dollars were going to pay his wife.

When he asked Kong why, the 49-year-old pastor seemed emotionally drained when he replied: “I didn’t have the chance to check with my wife if she wants to reveal her salaries and royalties, and we have a culture in City Harvest Church, as in many companies, of keeping our income as confidential as possible.”

Chew said flatly in return: “These are the givers that are closest to you, your greatest supporters…

“One of the reasons I left the church is that when I look at this, I realised that you deceived the people closest to you.”

He added that this was just one of several “lies” by his former spiritual mentor.

Chew claimed that attendance figures for City Harvest services had been “falsified” and “grossly exaggerated”. He pointed to BlackBerry messages by church members that suggested the actual attendance was around 12,000 a week, not 28,000 as Kong had claimed.

Kong denied this, saying that the 12,000 figure referred to the tally of cell-group church members and not the total attendance.

“Cell-group figures are usually about 60 per cent or even lesser of the church’s final attendance, if you include walk-ins and visitors,” said Kong.

But Chew hit back, saying incredulously: “Are you saying that every week about 40 per cent of the attendees are new walk-ins that are not related to the cell-group members?”

Chew summed up his cross-examination of Kong yesterday by pointing out 10 ways the senior pastor had apparently failed the church, adding: “You do not love the church, as in its people, and you are not that concerned about the church suffering losses.”

Source: Feng Zengkun, Kong ‘defrauded donors’, Asia One Singapore, http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/kong-defrauded-donors, 20/08/2014. (Accessed 23/08/2014.)

The Malay Mail Online reports,

CHC saga: Church founder lied about wife’s singing career

SINGAPORE, Aug 21 — City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee was very much involved in the financing of his wife Ho Yeow Sun’s pop music career and had the ultimate say in ensuring a church-linked company had the funds to pay for her United States album production, prosecutors argued yesterday.

In his cross-examination of Kong, Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong said the accused was lying when he said key decisions for Ho’s career — also known as the church’s Crossover Project to evangelise through secular pop music — had required the approval of directors of her Singapore management company Xtron Productions. Together with five other church leaders, Kong is facing criminal charges for misappropriating church funds.

In telling the court earlier about the decision to split with hip-hop star Wyclef Jean for Ho’s album, Kong did not mention any involvement of Xtron directors, DPP Ong pointed out.

And co-accused Chew Eng Han had told Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) investigators that Xtron directors, who included church member and Crossover supporter Wahju Hanafi, were not actively involved, instead giving support regardless of knowledge.

Another accused, Serina Wee, who did the church and Xtron’s accounts, also told the CAD that Kong, Chew and the church’s former second-in-command Tan Ye Peng would work out solutions when there was a shortage of funds, before presenting them to Xtron directors.

Kong said he had influence in decisions on the project and that he and his team had been tasked to execute the project. However, the ultimate authority laid with Xtron directors, he insisted.

Asked if he would be at fault if the bonds Chew and Tan had come up with to finance the Crossover turned out to be illegal, Kong said he had tasked them to check with lawyers and auditors. “Would the professionals also be responsible?” he questioned.

He added that he would leave it to the court to decide, to which DPP Ong retorted that he was being evasive and would have to implicate himself if he answered truthfully.

Prosecutors contend that the S$24 million (RM60 million) worth of bonds bought by the church from Xtron and Hanafi’s Indonesian glassware firm were sham bonds, and that the accused misused another S$26.6 million to cover up the first amount.

The prosecution yesterday also sought to show that Kong was very hands-on in the Crossover. In an August 2007 email to Tan, Kong reprimanded his deputy for botched promotional efforts in China, questioning why he had saved thousands of dollars on hotel rooms only to stay in an unsavoury area in Hong Kong, yet wasted hundreds of thousands on underperforming consultants and ended up with “result-less concerts”.

Pointing to an email that showed some of the accused planning for the church to pay Xtron a higher retainer, DPP Ong said they found excuses to put more church money into Xtron when the firm had cashflow problems, “never mind that the church would end up bearing the increased expenses”.

Kong disagreed, saying the injection of church funds was for legitimate reasons and that Xtron’s success would help fulfil the church’s objectives.

Kong did not want the church to directly fund Ho’s career as he felt it would defeat the aim of reaching out to non-Christians in the secular space.

The trial continues.

Published CHC saga: Church founder lied about wife’s singing career, The Malay Mail Online, http://www.themalaymailonline.com/world/article/chc-saga-church-founder-lied-about-wifes-singing-career, 31/08/2014. (Accessed 31/08/2014.)

[Watch this space]

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