Mrs Light n Friends provided this insightful report to what Chew Eng Han said in court on the 26th of January, 2015:
26 Jan 2015 – Eng Han EIC (Morning session)
Mr Chew Eng Han – former fund manager for City Harvest Church, took the stand today. (26 Jan 2015). There is no question and answer in his EIC. His way of presenting his evidences in court is according to the sequence of topics.
[Mrs Light comment: Mr. Chew is speaking with sincerity from his heart without referring to any transcripts.]
Topic 1 – “Discovery Period” and “During CAD Period”
Timeline: Before CAD raids happened on 31 May 2010 and during CAD investigation period. (May 2010 – 2012)
First court evidence is some snapshots taken by the CAD from Mr, Chew’s phone after the raid.
Blackberry messenger message between Choong Kar Weng (Xtron director) and Mr Chew.
I wrote to Kar Weng, because things have changed now, because the ability to reply is more restricted now. Because we were actually endeavoring to get funds, basically to pay back the advance rental. I was telling him that, because of the raid, it’s going to be more difficult for Wahju Hanafi to borrow money, and I went on to say that as long as Wahju is willing, it’s okay, but we have to think what if there’s no money to pay back, who is ultimately responsible?” the context of this is that the album had been delayed for many years. It was supposed to be launched in 2007 and then it was delayed to 2008, delayed to 2009, delayed to 2010. And my statement to Kah Weng basically is this, that who is going to be responsible for this delay? The fact that money didn’t come in as expected.
[Mr Chew said he was actually in Perth after the first interrogation by the CAD, and this was a time when the team of accused, and those that had been interrogated they were changing lawyers. By then, they have removed senior counsel Jimmy Yim and found him not to be good. And they had engaged new lawyers, and one of them that was coming to meet him was Mr Desmond Ong, who was then in Evershed. Mr Ong came to Perth to see Mr Chew. They tried to convince him to get back to the team.]
“….. senior counsel Jimmy Yim sat us down in a meeting room, and he started to proclaim judgment on some of us. First, he said to Kong Hee, “You’re going to jail for many years, you’re not going to see your son until he grows up.”
Then he started to talk about succession plan for CHC. He turned to Pastor Tan, he said, “You can’t do it as well, because you’re going jail as well.”
Then at some point in time he turned to me and said, “It’s all your fault, the bonds are illegal.” What took me by surprise was the fact that the two senior pastors of CHC had totally no conviction about what they had done. They accepted every single bit that Jimmy Yim told them. They were prepared to be convicted. I spoke up. I told Jimmy Yim, I said, “Jimmy Yim, you don’t even know what’s happened, because we didn’t even have a chance to tell you what this interrogation is all about.” He shut me up and he said, “You just keep quiet.” And he started going along with the story that the advice given on the bonds was bad, and it’s either me or the lawyer who did it was Christina Ng that’s going to take the rap for it. I didn’t agree. And that’s why I cut myself off from the team, after the second meeting, which was on 2 June 2010.
I detached myself from the team, and that’s why we have this blackberry messenger message from Choong Kar Weng. (The snapshots)”
They rang me up, they called me, they said, “We have good news. We have new lawyers. Jimmy Yim is no longer acting for us and the new set of lawyers have told us we have done nothing wrong.” I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad about that. Because my reaction was, “Why do you need a lawyer to tell you whether you have done wrong or right?”
It is in this context that if we look at the slide (snapshots), I said to Choong Kar Weng, “It’s a wonder why they all took so long to come back to the original stand, that what we are doing is missions.”
In other words, I was taken by surprise because the man with the vision for the Crossover doesn’t even believe that he has done right. I saw everybody in fear. The two men that I looked up to in CHC were not acting as shepherds. They were just in fear. So I took some persuasion for me to say, “Okay, I’m going to come back. I ‘m going to work with the new team of lawyers, but we had better speak the truth. We will speak the truth and we’re going to fight and we’re going to win.”
……. And I ‘m going to show in the EIC that I have no qualms about saying that Xtron is the church vehicle. I don’t know why some of the accused have detached CHC’s control of Xtron. So I go on to say to Choong Kar Weng ……”
….. Eng Han goes on to say…..
Your Honour, I’m going to show in EIC that a bond cannot be a sham. A bond is a bond. It’s a loan. It’s structured as a loan. It’s done as properly as it could ever be.
A bond becomes a sham only because the proceeds of the bonds have been misused, and the prosecutions need to go straight into the misuse of the funds and not the structuring of the bonds. Otherwise, you have lots of financial markets people that are going to be in trouble, are going to be dragged into court for doing things which are common in the financial markets.
This is important your Honour, because this reflects how I felt about the Crossover, that when we were so-called “being caught in the act”, my idea then was to go back and tell Pastor Kong, “Please, this is a church project. We have nothing to be afraid of. Our conscience is clear. We know our members support us, anyway.” And I wanted to tell him, “Come on, let’s just hold a EGM, tell them the whole story, the whole truth, tell them why it wasn’t disclosed, and let’s raise a mission fund and pay off whatever debts there are.”
Because in my mind, in my heart, there’s nothing we did wrong. This was supposed to be a project of the church. It was supposed to bring returns. Now, the man that managed it kept telling us it was delayed and delayed. This was something that none of us expected. But investments do go into trouble.
They do face challenges. But it doesn’t mean that those that are involved are all dishonest.
We can deal with problems in a proper way. We can hold an EGM and tell the members what happened, why was it delayed, we need to pay it back now, the albums will come back in later.
[Mr Chew referred to the 4.5hours conversation exhibit that he had with Kong Hee and Sun.]
This is myself speaking to Kong Hee, I thought we agreed the lawyers are not Gods. We went through round one in 2010, right. Most of you were all looking to Jimmy Yim and that’s why I got fed up. Just because he says the bond is wrong, then everybody says the bond is wrong. That is the second round of disappointment again, you know the same thing is happening again
…..this was in March 2013, by then I had further discoveries about Kong Hee, and some of his team, about some of the things that they had been doing which I wasn’t aware of.”
Mr Tong: “Your Honour, my copy of page 59, line 5 it is redacted. I don’t know about the rest. I think that’s and agreed redaction.”
Chew: “…. the agreement was I would redact those that I’m not going to use but on condition that I’m going to have to use certain sections that were redacted. I think that was clear in chambers, but you were not there.”
[Chew didn’t read line 5 of page 59. He says, “I’ll deal with that later on”.
After the Perth trip, Mr Chew was called back. The CAD met him at the airport and confiscated his phone and that was how all this stuffs (snapshots) have been collected in the library for Mr. Chew to be used in the court now.]
I met Kong Hee and Sun after I came back, and they knew I wasn’t happy. I took Kong Hee and Sun and says, “I’m disappointed in you, because when the fire broke out, I didn’t see any leaders, I didn’t see any shepherd. Everyone was in fear.”
A few days later, Tan Ye Peng and his wife Jacq Tan came to my house to so-called apologise….. I told him I said. “I’m disappointed in you, Kong Hee and you, Tan Ye Peng because when the fire broke out, I didn’t see any leadership. No shepherds”. And Pastor Tan said to me and his counsel can cross-examine me on this he said, “You know, Eng Han in times like this, nobody is thinking about leadership.”
So there was silence. But despite this, I said, “Never mind, let’s get back together. Let’s work with a good set of lawyers who can prove that the bonds were not illegal.” After all we had good intentions, it was meant for the missions of the church; we expected profits to be made, and that’s what really counts in this case. Let’s work together.
So after that first wake-up call, I went back to sleep again. I trusted them. And we had this agreement come: Everybody let’s just tell the truth as it is and we all come out of it.
Blackberry messenger message conversations between Mr Koh Siow Ngea (former Xtron directors) and Mr Chew.
Chew sent an sms to Mr Koh telling him this:
“My heart is heavy and turn in between when I read it. We need to pray and ask God what is true and what is not.”
And this was because Pastor Aries, a pastor from City Harvest, had sent me a message from Kong Hee, he said: “I want you to know that we have a lawyer who understands our situation and willing to fight for us.
He says, he quoted Kong Hee to me: “Dear Eng Han, I’ve been thinking and praying much for you. Sorry I can’t contact you. But I miss you and I’m interceding for the whole situation. God is with us and he will deliver the innocent. Please send my loves and hugs to Janet and kids.”
This was the time when they were persuading me to go back and join the team and fight together. And I was telling Mr Koh I don’t know what to believe, I don’t know whether to believe them, because the reactions I saw after the raid doesn’t tie in with the words.
Mr. Chew wrote to Mr. Koh:
I was writing this to Mr. Koh because I felt that the top two pastors I always looked up to had stopped acting like pastors. I was in shock. I thought the best thing I could do was to get to Pastor Kong’s former mentor Ulf Ekman, to tell him what was happening, to seek spiritual advice from him as to how to deal with this.
Your Honour, during the CAD investigation, everybody hired a lawyer to help them. I refused to be because I didn’t see a need to, because I didn’t need a lawyer to teach me how to tell the truth. I didn’t need a lawyer to tell me what to tell the CAD officers. So, your Honour, as I refer to the CAD statements in the next few days, everything that I said was not coached. It came out of my heart.
And during these months of investigation, I constantly had some of the laywers telling me, “You had better get a lawyer. Get a lawyer. You can’t do without a lawyer.” But I refused.
“…… I am not a lawyer, but I have a conscience. I understand what is right or wrong. And as I say, I’m not worried, I told Christina, “I hope you aren’t.” …… As for me I will tell the truth and nothing more. And what I said then still stands today.”
Blackberry messenger message conversations between Mr Wahju (former Xtron directors) and Mr Chew.
On 11 June 2010 Eng Han said to Wahju:
…..Why is everybody looking up to Jimmy Yim as God, whatever he says goes?… I was telling Wahj, “Don’t you all have a conscience to tell you whether you did right or wrong?”
I was disappointed because I say whatever confidence CHC leadership has placed in me all these years to handle financial and legal matters it’s wiped out in one day on 31 May 2010. And in my mind, your Honour, I’ve never, ever thought the bonds were illegal. I would have done the same in the financial markets; I would have done it the same way.
[Chew referred to another snapshot conversation with Mr Wahju]
It says: “Someone also lied to me that Jimmy was not harping on the bonds anymore, but a few days later, Rajah & Tann got a call from Jimmy that hew was blaming me and Rajah & Tann.”
And that “someone” I’m referring to is Tan Ye Peng. Things were happening during those first one, two weeks of the CAD investigations. People were behaving not like Christians, not to mention as pastors. I saw everybody was afraid. And later I found people are not telling the truth. I thought we were supposed to go in as one team. I went on to say in the same slide (snapshot) at the bottom:
I went on to say:
This right solution your Honour is the same thing I was talking about, which is to tell the EMs what happened with the Crossover, why we did it the way we did it, and if they understand, they’re going to put their full support to it, they’re going to put in their money, and we’re going to use the money to repay the ARLA or the advance rental. In my mind, I never thought that we had breached the trust of the members. The members understand why we have to do certain things in certain ways.
Reading from the snapshot evidence Wahju tells Eng Han:
So this is where I got the impression that Pastor Kong had heroically decided to take the blame for everyone, because Wahju told me this, and Pastor Kong told me this as well, during our four and a half hour conversation. But when I saw the confession letter in court, in the course of these proceedings, it looked very far from what the impression that was given to me. It didn’t look like he was taking the blame for everyone. I even have doubts whether there was even such a confession letter.
On the next snapshot evidence they tell Eng Han: “We can’t wait for you to return and work together again.”
And I did that, I returned and I started work together with them again.
Continue reading from the snapshot evidence, Eng Han was telling Wahju:
“We don’t need PK to take the whole blame.”
In other words, we’re not here to pin blame on people who is responsible. Whoever is responsible for any action takes responsibility. We can’t fabricate and get anyone to take responsibility for what is or isn’t hers because the case will crumble on further questioning. I think that is what we are seeing in court, your Honour, over the months. Inconsistent testimonies. I don’t agree with Wahju’s testimony, that he had an active role to play with Xtron. I don’t agree with Wahju’s testimony that all five that are sitting in the dock right now had nothing to do with the financing of the bonds of the Crossover, I was the only one involved. And this is what I was saying. We can’t fabricate evidence, because it looks silly. It’s foolishness. Everything is going to crumble. I’m going to tell the truth as it is.
Your Honour, I would like to refer back to conversations again…… Kong Hee was relating to me what happened with that confession letter, that Jimmy Yim was supposed to get the letter from Kong Hee and to pass it on to the CAD. And so he says to me and to my wife, Janet:
It puzzles me, your Honour, because if Jimmy Yim had forgotten to bring the letter, he could have easily called one of his staff to bring the letter down to the CAD. Everything doesn’t make sense. And the more I look at the evidence in the course of these proceeding, the more I’m convinced it’s nothing more than a story about how he chose to take the blame for everybody.
Your Honour, after the CAD investigations, I asked Kong and Sun to send Sun back to the US to launch her album. This was while we were still being investigated, between June 2010 to November 2010.
And I said,
Nothing better than have the sales talk for us.
Kong Hee replied to me and said,
Sun gave me a different reply, Sun said,
But neither of them ever mentioned that she couldn’t go back because of the restriction on her travel. Yet, when Kong Hee took the stand, he mentioned that as the reason why she couldn’t launch her album. Then why didn’t he tell me that? But, in any case, I believe Sun was interviewed maybe once, maybe twice by CAD, and never after that. She was able to travel as long as she applied for it.
There was no real restriction on travel.
At another occasion when I asked Kong to launch the album, his reply to me was a different reply. He said,
Then I said, “Then can’t we just spend a little bit of money and repackage the songs?” That’s when he told me,
That’s why in cross-examination I asked him, “Who owns the songs?”
Your Honour, I’m bringing this up because this is a CBT case. Criminal Breach of Trust, misuse of funds. And with respect to the prosecution, I think the prosecution needs to go into the usage of the funds, not the structuring of the bonds. The one that spends the money, the one that has discretion, and the one that spends the money needs to answer “where are the songs, who owns the songs?” because if he doesn’t know, that is an outright misuse of the money; $24million spent and he doesn’t know who owns the songs.”
There’s another occasion Kong Hee told me, after we got charged, he said,
When I heard that, I said, “Great. Get the SMS, put it into court, show the court that Sun really had potential to make money.” His reply to me was
Now in hindsight, I’m thinking was there ever such a message? Such an important message, and he doesn’t keep it. That’s one of the best evidence.
Another point in time we were charged, I told Kong Hee, “Call Justin Hertz, the professional that gave you all the projections. Get him to court to tell the court that it was real business sense to launch Sun’s album, Sun was going to be a hit.”
His reply to me was,
If Kong Hee really meant what he said in EIC, that every dollar invested must go back to the church, and that there was expectations for big sums of revenue to come in, then, surely, the most logical and responsible thing for him to do is to finish up the album and to launch it, put aside every other matters.
Topic 2 – Before Charges on May 2012
Eng Han referred to his document evidence of a petition document drafted by a member in BBG.
Your Honour, this was a plan by myself and by a group of people called Business Breakthrough Group, or BBG, in short. I had told them, while we were being investigated by CAD in 2010, and by 2011 the investigation had stopped and there was just silence. Come May 2012, we had no idea what was going to happen, because we were charged only one month later. I was telling my BBG people, “Hey, after all the questioning, it’s clear that we’ve done no wrong. It’s just the missions of the church together with investment. Sun was going to be a hit. We did it, very low key, without much disclosure.” I told my BBG people, “You all understand why. That has already been the route taken by Pastor Kong and Pastor Tan, to do everything low key, low profile.” They understood, They said, “Yes, none of us have done any wrong. Let’s petition to the CAD and ask them to drop the case.”
And so this petition was never sent out, but the words in there reflect what was in my heart as well as in my people in BBG. The second paragraph of the letter, after “Dear Sir, Madam,”
1st paragraph …not read …
So all of us trusted Pastor Kong and Sun. I still trusted them at that time, because I’ve not yet seen the CAD statements. I’ve not yet seen the COC report.
The next paragraph talks about how we have been patiently waiting and how we have been put through public humiliation for. The last line of that third paragraph says:
And this is how I felt during CAD, this is how I felt before I got charged. We’ve not done anything wrong. And there’s a huge element of trust between the leaders and the elders and the leaderships.
The fourth paragraph says
In other words, by then, I had already told my people in BBG, “This was the reason why it wasn’t disclosed. The Xtron bonds wasn’t disclosed to the members. You guys understand, because that’s the way the modus operandi of the church leadership and so the people that wanted to do this petition fully understood, and warranted to make it clear to the CAD.
Your Honour one of the big issues in this whole case is the lack of disclosure, that why was everything kept hush-hush, not told to even some of the board members?
And implied in that action of not disclosing, there are two possibilities: one is because we’re on secret missions, a pure secret mission; and the other is because sitcom of us have been doing things that are not right.
So disclosure is a big issue in this case. So then there are bullet points down there that he lays out. And the second bullet point says:
* We empowered the Board to make decisions that commit the Church financially;
* We support the Board’s decision when required, to withhold information from us in order not to jeopardize specific projects and initiatives.
This guy that’s writing the petition is reflecting what I was telling him: the reason for not disclosure to the EMs is simple, we don’t want to jeopardize whatever projects we are doing, and, in this case, it was the Crossover.
Before we could do this petition, my BBG people were stopped by Pastor Tan and Pastor Aries. We had a big fight over this, and I couldn’t understand why the pastors wither so afraid to write a simple letter like this. It’s non-confrontational, it explains our position, why we did these things in a certain way.
……….. they were collecting a few hundred signatures and then they got stopped, because Pastor Aries, whom I may call to the stand, and Pastor Tan stopped my people.
Eng Han referred to the email evidence that he wrote to Pastor Aries, Pastor Tan, Kong Hee and Sun on 27 May 2012.
Pastor Aeries you’ve asked me if I’ve thought through carefully about this. At the last time I say you say this is not the right time, let me know when you think is the right time.
I’m angry because there doesn’t need to be a right time to tell the truth. The truth should come out as quickly as possible. I couldn’t understand Pastor Aries’ wisdom to say this is not the right time, and Pastor Tan was saying the same thing.
“Pastor Tan regarding your question to me as to who would suffer and get called up if this petition goes through, and you answered that it will be yourself, KH and perhaps the board”
In other words, they were afraid the government was going to hit them for this petition….. I told them that they may also get called up but they are willing to take that risk. Some of my members said if they have to go down with us then so be it.
This is to me is real faith and real conviction. And chances are many of these members will be traced to me as well and similarly I’m ready to be questioned. I’m not fearful at all. I’m sad that our top people are afraid when the people below are ready to speak up with the truth.
Eng Han goes on to point number 4 ……. point number 5 of the email, saying Pastor Aries flip flop of words
I was experiencing having encounters with pastors who don’t keep their words. This is very unlike a Christian.
When the case first broke out (this is a description of the time during the CAD raid) we saw people in panic and fear and behaving unlike leader and that’s what caused me to stay away from the team and the lawyers, because I was affected by the lack of conviction in the team.
Throughout 2002 to 2010 I poured my heart and mind into the Crossover because I truly felt that it was from and of God and therefore it was a risk worth taking.
And this was my intention all throughout, your Honour, from 2002, when the Crossover started I’ve always felt Pastor Kong received the vision from God. It’s a mandate from God. If we’re going to do it properly, as best as we can, and make sure that the project comes to pass. I said: “We started by faith, and faith is an important element in this case, because our intentions, our state of mind are affected by our faith.
So I said (continue from point number 6): “If we started by faith then surely we should continue and finish it by faith.”
And that’s why I said to Pastor Kong: “Go back, send back to the US and launch the album, by faith.”
So it really affects me when I see leaders having no conviction of faith when things go bad and to see decisions made based on fear.
Eng Han goes on to his point number 7 and 8 of his emails before the short break at 11am.
To be continued (part 2)
Source: 26 Jan 2015 – Eng Han EIC (Morning session), Mrs Light n Friends, http://mrslightnfriends.com/26-jan-2015-eng-han-eic-morning-session, Published 27/01/2015. (Accessed 28/01/2015.)