Mrs Light n Friends provided this insightful report to what Chew Eng Han said in court on Tuesday, the 27th of January, 2015:
27 Jan 2015 – Eng Han EIC (AM session – Roland Poon Saga)
Roland Poon Saga
In 2003, I think January, by then I think we had launched the 2nd Mandarin Album. Prior to that, the church was happy, celebrating, because the first two albums were successful. When Pst Kong had the chance of weekend servicen, he would update us, tell us the good news, “Sun has hit number 1 or number 3″, or whatever.
Everybody would be clapping, shouting for joy because we are proud of Sun. We felt that this is a vision given by God,that somehow God has anointed and given Sun this talent to be able to use secular songs to reach out to the non-believers.
And so to us, to a majority of us, there was nothing wrong with Kong Hee going on stage to celebrate the success of Sun. But we didn’t know that, in the midst of that thousands of people, there was one man that took it from a different angle. And this man is Roland Poon.
And while the majority were clapping and rejoicing and wanting to know more about Sun’s success, there was this man that thought differently. And in his mind, he was thinking, “Why is it that Kong Hee goes on stage every week, and even before we start to pray, or worship God, that he starts to talk about Sun? Why is he glorifying Sun? Sun has become the centre of worship for City Harvest Church”. He goes on to think in his mind that the reason why and the reason why I know all this, your Honour, is I interviewed Roland Poon when he confessed to us that he was the one that spilled it to the papers.
In his mind, he started to go wild, and he said, “Not only are you glorifying Sun, you are using church money to glorify Sun. You are using church money to the production of her album, as well as church money to buy up her CDs as well”. So not knowing this was happening, Roland Poon went to a journalist, or, rather, he didn’t go, he started to write anonymous emails to a reporter, disguising himself as different people to create the false impression that there were many people in CHC that were not happy with what Kong Hee was doing with his wife, and that he was abusing the church resources.
And suddenly, it appeared on the papers I think it was Today or New Paper.
And it splashed out on the papers about how church funds had been misused to fund Sun, and that Sun has become the centre of worship and all that.
Your Honour, when that happened, Kong Hee was in shock. Sun Ho fell into depression. All the pastors were paralysed. None of the board members knew what to do. Myself and Jacq Tan, who is the wife of Tan Ye Peng, handled the crisis, dealt with the reporters, talked to friends, lawyer friends and ex-lawyer friends, started to engage media to deal with this crisis. And I did it because I believed that Sun and Kong Hee had done nothing wrong.
I even took leave from my job, as the GM of State Street Bank, for two days. I hardly slept in those 48-hours. I did this because I believed in it.
….., everyone was in shock, and nobody knows who is this man who complained, or was it several men. A few days later, Roland Poon called a pastor friend of Kong Hee, a pastor in Sri Lanka Pastor Albert. He confessed to Pastor Albert that he was the one who leaked it to the press and that’s how the article came about. Pastor Albert called Kong Hee and Kong Hee told me, “There’s this man called Roland Poon. He confessed that he is the one. Can you go and see him?”
So I met him, together with Jacq Tan, I believe and Suraj, at the Fullerton Hotel Café at night, and we taped the conversation. If the prosecution wants to listen to the tape, I have the tape with me. Never at any time did we force Roland Poon to apologise. It was a very pastoral talk. Of course, I’m not a pastor, so I don’t know pastoral language. I didn’t persecute him; I was nice to him. I just wanted to ask him what was in his mind that caused him to go to the press.
And he said that, actually, he didn’t want it to come out into the press. He was not happy with the way things were being done. He had suspicions, but he never intended it to come out in the papers.
But by the time he had wrote to one reporter and the reporter asked him, “Are there any other members that feel the same way?” And Roland Poon said, “No, I don’t know of any others” And despite that, the reporter, actually, once, your Honour, for a short stint, and all journalists are taught that you never write a report based on one witness. But the reporter did it. And so Roland Poon himself was shocked that it came out in the papers. And in that one and a half hour conversation with him he apologised. He actually broke down. He said, “Sorry. I’m so sorry, the devil has made use of me to attack the church. The devil has almost used me to destroyed the church.”
It was never a scenario where we manipulated the man Roland Poon and forced him to apologise and we were so strict with him. I listened to him, and I said, “It’s okay. What’s past is past.”. I made an effort to explain to him, your Honour, that, Roland, “I think you’re mistaken. We don’t worship Sun, but this Crossover is important, and she is not the centre of worship for the church”.
And at that time, your Honour, I truly believe that no church funds were used. I said to Roland Poon, I said, “Roland, as a board member, I can assure you no church funds were used”. But of course, today that statement cannot hold because church funds were used. But in all sincerity, I said it to Roland, “No, you are mistaken, we didn’t use church funds”.
Your Honour, sometime last year, after one of the tranches, on the last day of one of the tranches. I think it was John Lam’s last day before we took a break, I went to People’s Park complex, the building just nearby, and I was having tea with my friends. Lo and behold, Roland Poon appeared before me. He came behind me and he tapped me, and I looked up at him. I couldn’t recognise him initially. I took a second look. I said, “Roland Poon?” And he was smiling at me. I took him to one corner, because my friends were there. The first thing he did was to shake my hand and to say, “Well done”. I have a photograph of him that I took on the day.
I think God has a way of fixing things. If ever the prosecution wants to put forward the proposition that I together with Kong Hee to say no church funds, I am going to subpoena Roland Poon as well, and I’m going to ask him, “Why do you say to me well done?”
Because if I had conspired to persecute Roland Poon and to perpetuate the lie that no church funds were used, Roland Poon would have come up to me and slapped me in the face and said, “You cheated me”, because Roland Poon knows what kind of person I am. In all sincerity, I believed that no church funds were used.
And now on to this point that no church funds were used, your Honour. This is my account of it.
After the news broke out that church funds were used, Kong Hee was in shock, panic, and this is the truth. Honestly, in my mind, I’m thinking, “So what if church funds are used? Isn’t this a project of the church? What is there to be afraid of?” But I didn’t ask Kong Hee this question. Maybe he has his own reasons, maybe it is too embarrassing for him to deal with this in public, or whatever. He says at one point in time, I can’t remember if it was the first day or the second day, your Honour ……. there he suddenly says, “But no I remember that Wahju pledged $1.3m for the Crossover”.
And this account I’m giving is different from what Kong Hee gave when he was on the stand there, because he says it was one of the board member or perhaps I think he said Aries or Derek or whatever, that remembered that Wahju pledged a certain amount to the Crossover. It was not like that, your Honour. It was Kong Hee himself.
And he was excited. He said, “No, no church funds were used; it’s Wahju’s money”. And if I remember correctly, I think he was the one that called Wahju’s money is meant for the Crossover, not for the Building Fund”.
And that’s how the sequence of events developed, where we had to reverse certain things, your Honour, to capture the real intention, which I thought the real intention was that Wahju didn’t mean to give to the Building Fund but to give to the Crossover, and that’s why he had to reverse certain things that had been recorded in CHC.
So today, if you ask me whether church funds were used. Yes, church funds were used for the Crossover. Did I have intention to deceive the people? No. Did I have intention to deceive Roland Poon and make him feel bad? Not at all, your Honour. Roland Poon was actually in the same market as me, in the financial markets. I traded foreign exchange and money markets. He was a broker in the foreign exchange markets. He was a broker in the foreign exchange markets as well. He even related his story of how depressed he was and I won’t go into details.
We had some form of relationship. He asked me after everything had died down, whether could he go back to church. (Eng Han was talking about 2003 not 2014) I said, “Let me ask Pastor Kong”. Pastor Kong said to me to tell him, “Maybe not at this time, because the members are still feeling hurt. Tell him may be later on”. And that’s the message I conveyed to Roland Poon.
About one year after that (2004), I bumped into him again. I messaged him. He thanked me for remembering him. And so after Roland Poon’s saga had died down, we met. “We” meaning Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee and Foong Daw Ching. And by then, Foong Daw Ching had already verified that no church funds were used. I believed. As to who got the cameraman to shoot the video, I have no clue, because I was busy putting out the fire, dealing with the lawyers and reporters. We sat down with Foong Daw Ching and one of the first things that Foong Daw Ching said to us was, “Kong Hee, actually, it’s okay for you to use church funds to fund the Crossover”. My first reaction was, “Yes, what’s wrong with using church funds to fund the Crossover? Isn’t this the church project?” Foong Daw Ching gave example of Pastor Lawrence Kong openly uses church funds to do his magician acts. I said, “Yes, so what’s so different about Sun?” In fact, for FCBC it’s the pastor himself who is the recipient of these monies. But Kong Hee made a stand, he said, “No, I don’t want the church to fund directly.” And that set a path, your Honour, from 2003 onwards, if the church doesn’t fund it, then who is going to fund it? Which entity can fund it? And the resulted in the birth of Xtron Productions Pte Ltd.
And that’s how individuals start to contribute to Xtron, because Xtron needs money to fund the albums and the concerts.
And so, your Honour, at the cross roads, when a decision was made, either the church funds it openly and directly or the church doesn’t want to fund it, let another entity fund it. In my mind, I’m thinking the auditor has said it’s okay for the church to fund it directly. That set my frame of mind, because, if the church had funded it directly, it means the church would take the risk of this Crossover Project directly. If the album makes money, the church makes money. Direct risk is on the church. And from that standpoint, when we fast forward to 2007, when the church now is buying bonds in Xtron, in effect, Xtron now becomes a layer between the Crossover and City Harvest Church. Xtron now becomes a buffer of the risk on the Crossover Project.
And in my mind, I’m thinking, “If it is okay for the church to take direct risk on the Crossover, why it is wrong for the church to now have an intermediary, which is Xtron, to take the risk of the Crossover?
And if the album that loses money, then it’s Xtron that loses money …… Why is that CBT?
Xtron had to come up as a special vehicle, with its complications because of one decision: don’t fund it directly.
And I understood at the time the reason for Kong Hee not wanting to fund it directly, because I saw how shaken he was, how shaken his wife was, we had Roland Poon splashed it on the papers. And that stuck in my mind, that if he doesn’t want to fund directly, I can understand why. He doesn’t want to go through this crisis again. He doesn’t want to deal with this with the public, the internet, the papers.
Your Honour, I will stop here with regards to Roland Poon.
Source: 27 Jan 2015 – Eng Han EIC (AM session – Roland Poon Saga), Mrs Light n Friends, http://mrslightnfriends.com/27-jan-2015-eng-han-eic-am-session-roland-poon-saga, Published 27/01/2015. (Accessed 29/01/2015.)