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City Harvest trial: Church leaders falsified documents, prosecution alleges

For example, minutes of a meeting were dated two days before the meeting actually took place, according to evidence produced by the prosecution. This was simply a "mistake", defendant John Lam said.

SINGAPORE: The leaders of City Harvest Church had planned to falsify paperwork to show auditors that the church had assessed the Xtron bonds to be a good investment, the prosecution charged as the high-profile trial resumed on Wednesday (Aug 6).

Xtron is one of the two companies the six church leaders are accused of using church monies to buy sham bonds from, in order to bankroll the secular pop music career of Sun Ho, the wife of church founder Kong Hee.

On Wednesday, the prosecution produced evidence to show that the dates of certain documents did not square with the evidence heard in court so far.

For example, the minutes of a church board meeting dated Aug 3, 2008, reflected that the church's investment committee had already reviewed and approved the Xtron bonds. However, the investment committee meeting only took place two days later, on Aug 5.

Similarly, the minutes from that investment committee meeting were also backdated to July 29.

DECEPTION OR A MISTAKE?

Upon being questioned by the prosection, former church board member John Lam told the court the wrong dates were simply "a mistake". He had seen both sets of minutes, and signed off on the church board minutes, he said.

Lead prosecutor Mavis Chionh disputed this, calling it a "deliberate act" to present a certain picture to the church's auditors - that the church had considered the recoverability of the bonds in July 2008, even before the auditors raised the issue on Aug 1, 2008.

Ms Chionh argued that Lam was fully aware of the falsification and deception.

She also presented examples of other instances when the church leaders did not present a full picture of the bond investments to the church's executive members, and in fact sometimes gave them misleading impressions.

She said that this was to prevent them from discovering that money meant to have been spent on church-related matters, such as property, was instead being spent on the Crossover Project, the church's way of evangelism through secular pop music.

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