City News recently published a portion of Kong Hee’s letter which was recently bought up in court. Below the City News article we have published a CHC Confessions member’s assessment of the letter. Both pieces are worth reading.
The City News reports,
City Harvest Trial: Contents Of Kong’s “Confession Letter” Revealed
The re-examination of Kong Hee ended today with defense lawyer Edwin Tong underscoring that Kong’s state of mind in 2010 when investigations began was consistent with his testimony on the stand.
This morning in court, Edwin Tong, Kong Hee’s lawyer, submitted a 12-paged letter that Kong had written at the advice of City Harvest Church’s former lawyer Jimmy Yim to “come clean”. The letter was dated June 3, 2010, three days after Kong had first been brought in for a 15-hour interview by the Commercial Affairs Department, the court heard.
In his statements given to the CAD, Kong said that Yim told him he had been negligent, had done wrong and that he should “just come clean and tell the truth”.
Co-defendant Chew Eng Han had asked for this letter in the course of his cross-examination of Kong earlier in the trial.
The court heard this morning that this letter outlined the reason Sun Ho became a pop singer, the Crossover Project in Asia and the US, the multipurpose fund, the Xtron and Firna bonds, the purchasing of a unit in Riverwalk, and the advance rental agreement, among other things.
Reading the letter, Tong established that Kong’s position at that point in time in June 2010 was consistent with what he has told the court in the past weeks he has been on the stand. This letter was handed by Kong to Yim to give to any relevant agency but Kong’s belief is that never happened. (See box story on Kong’s “pleas”)
Earlier this morning, Tong tackled several accusations put forward by the prosecution in the cross-examination.
The prosecution had accused Kong of making decisions that were “essentially motivated by the aim of solving Xtron’s financial deficit” without “real assessment of commercial motive”. One example given was Kong’s approval to transfer expenses to various organisations, including Anglican High School and a primary school in China.
Tong produced CHC board meeting minutes to show that these donations, which Kong said were in line with CHC’s mission, had been approved by the board. He also produced Baker Tilly’s working papers which showed that the auditors knew about these donations. Among the documents in the audit working paper was a record of Xtron board meeting minutes that showed that the donations made by Xtron came out of an agreement between Sun Ho and Xtron. Ho had waived her royalties and the amount was donated to build schools in China.
The prosecution had also charged that Kong had control over Xtron such that he could capitalize Xtron in whatever ways he wanted. They also charged that Kong had planned the US album budget without consideration of the repayment of the Xtron bonds.
Tong established that Kong had no experience in the US music industry prior to 2003 and had had to rely heavily on the US manager Justin Herz, and the producers, public relations manager and lawyer in US for his budget planning. Kong agreed that he would not disagree with the professionals if they projected certain costs for the album. Kong clarified that he would check and ensure that the figures were reasonable.
Tong then questioned Kong on the period of time when Xtron had difficulty repaying the bonds. At that time, Kong was in negotiations with producer Wyclef Jean that eventually broke down. Tong then asked his client why, if according to prosecution, the budget was insufficient he could simply capitalize Xtron in whatever way he wished, did he fight so hard with Jean and Herz over the proposed budget?
Kong replied that although the prospect of working with Jean and Lisa Ellis was very tempting, because Jean had made Shakira a star at that time, he felt that the budget was unbalanced and beyond reasonableness. When Jean and Ellis refused to push down the budget, Kong decided to terminate the contract.
He later adds, “If it’s a choice between artistic, budgetary and Crossover mission consideration, Your Honour, I just cannot, in good conscience, put Xtron and ultimately the church in a position where, specially the church, it could suffer loss.”
Court resumed at 2.30pm.
Source: The City News Team, City Harvest Trial: Contents Of Kong’s “Confession Letter” Revealed, City News, http://www.citynews.sg/2014/09/city-harvest-trial-contents-of-kongs-confession-letter-revealed/, Published/Updated 11/09/2014 – 3:19 pm. (Accessed 15/09/2014.)
A CHC Confessions offered these views about the above letter:
I like how City News put the words “Confession Letter”, “come clean” and “negligence” in inverted commas, which I thought were so appropriate, given the fishy circumstance the 12-page document was being penned. For the 5-part hearing on this “Confession Letter” Q&A please refer to:http://mrslightnfriends.com/category/chctrial .
It came as a surprise to many for this late showing of “evidence”. Even the judge was at a loss what to call it: statement? letter?
If the above summary of KH’s intention comprising the four points is anything to go by, we can safely conclude it is no confession either. Was there even the slightest hint of remorse? The so-called “confession” threw up more questions than answers, it seems.
1. It was not submitted to any of the authorities despite KH’s claim that that was his instruction to his lawyer, Jimmy Yim. Did Jimmy Yim fail in his duty to carry out his client’s instruction?
2. Why was there no soft copy of this 12-page document that took 6-8 hours and a whole team galvanised into action to come up with the exact dates, monies, email and other vital info for this document to be produced. Isn’t it the normal practice in this computer age for the law firm to send a soft copy of any correspondence to its client? If there was no soft copy, how does KH do a “copy & past” of the details, as he claimed to have done?
3. If — according to KH — Serina, Sharon, Teo Meng How, Tan Ye Peng & his wife were present on 3 June 2010, then why wasn’t CEH also invited to assist with the info and give his input, since he was key to a number of transactions?
4. Was there any “coming clean” as in admission of guilt?
No. All was said were his “mistakes”, “negligence”, “failure”, “wrong decision after reviewing…with [his] lawyers” and lastly, his “worries”.
Firstly, CBT and round-tripping are not “mistakes”. They are criminal acts punishable by law.
Secondly, it seems highly unlikely that the offences were committed due to his negligence. With so many years experience at the helm as chairman of the church board, is this even possible?
What about “failure” and “wrong decision”? From the email evidences, they appear to be meticulously planned, right down to back-dating certain evidences.
He’s asking to shoulder the blame? For what?
To shoulder blame for his mistake as a “pastor” is not the same as committing those “mistakes” himself. In “shouldering blame” KH is trying to portray himself as the sacrificial lamb, which he is not. How could he be the sacrificial lamb when he and his wife were the biggest beneficiaries from the scam?
5. KH claimed: “…With the recent purchase of shares in Suntec Convention, there is now serious doubt in CHC’s ability to fulfill its commitment in the deal.”
If the document was indeed written on 3 June 2010, then what did he mean by CHC’s ability to fulfill its “commitment”, since it would have been fully paid for the 20% stake at that point in time?
It was only in late 2011 that the additional 19% stake was acquired and financed through a $50million loan financing, provided by the seller HPIL.
So why was it produced at the eleventh hour? What hole(s) was he trying to patch this time?
Source: CHC Confessions, FaceBook, https://www.facebook.com/CHCConfessions/posts/866910193328359, 20/09/2014 – 02:56AM. (Accessed 21/09/2014.)