Defence in CHC trial seeks to establish financial transactions are legitimate
- POSTED: 09 Sep 2013 20:03
- UPDATED: 09 Sep 2013 23:57
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The trial of the six City Harvest Church leaders accused of misusing church funds continued on Monday with the defence seeking to establish that the various financial transactions in question were common and legitimate.
SINGAPORE: The trial of the six City Harvest Church leaders accused of misusing church funds continued on Monday with the defence seeking to establish that the various financial transactions in question were common and legitimate.
Defence counsel Kannan Ramesh went through the finances of glassware company, Firna, which is owned by prosecution witness Wahju Hanafi.
The Indonesian businessman testified that Firna's finances were in relatively good shape from 2007 to 2010.
In 2008, Firna had issued bonds to the church to raise capital.
Mr Ramesh pointed out to Mr Hanafi that it was only logical to restructure the debts if the church wanted Firna to redeem the bonds before the stipulated three years, to which Mr Hanafi agreed.
The lawyer also sought to show that the personal guarantee undertaken by church founder Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han and former Xtron Productions director Koh Siow Ngea, in favour of Mr Hanafi, was done as "a show of support" between friends.
Previously, the court heard that the four had undertaken a personal guarantee from Mr Hanafi, in the event the Indonesian failed to redeem the church-Firna bonds.
A requirement under that agreement was that the church could convert the bonds issued by Mr Hanafi into shares in Firna, if he failed to pay the church back.
But Mr Hanafi's father-in-law, who held 20 per cent of the company, was reluctant to agree to this.
Last week, the court was told that in an email dated 6 September 2008, one of the six accused, Chew Eng Han told co-accused Serina Wee to draft a "secret letter".
It stated that the church would sell back the shares to Mr Hanafi and his father-in-law, at a nominal value of US$1, in the event the bonds were converted into shares.
At that time, Chew said the letter was needed as the father-in-law would not sign the shareholders' consent for the church to convert the bonds into shares.
But Chew's lawyer, Michael Khoo, on Monday raised documents showing that there was no need for the letter.
This was because Mr Hanafi managed to convince his father-in-law to allow the personal guarantee by signing the waiver of transfer of shares either before or on September 6.
With the waiver, Mr Hanafi's shares would be transferred to the church in the event he was not able to redeem the bonds.
Mr Khoo noted that this meant the waiver was signed a month before the personal guarantee was made.
Later in the day, church founder Kong Hee's lawyer, Edwin Tong, also sought to show that much effort and thought was put into planning the music career of Ms Sun Ho, Kong's wife.
Kong and five others allegedly misused S$24 million church funds to boost the career of Ms Ho.
Four of the six accused are said to have falsified accounts to cover up the misuse through round-tripping of sham bond investments.