Prosecution grills key witness on singer Sun Ho’s foray into America
- POSTED: 11 Sep 2013 14:26
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The prosecution on Wednesday questioned its key witness at the trial of the six leaders of City Harvest Church over discrepancies that have crept up over the past week.
SINGAPORE: The prosecution on Wednesday questioned its key witness at the trial of the six leaders of City Harvest Church over discrepancies that have crept up over the past week.
Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi was asked by prosecutor Tan Kiat Pheng on his varying answers in court.
Kong Hee and five of his deputies are accused of misusing S$24 million church funds to finance his wife Sun Ho's music career.
During Wednesday’s hearing, one key issue emerged -- was Kong conservative in his budget planning for Ms Ho's music career?
It follows the point that Kong's lawyer, Edwin Tong, tried to make on Monday -- that
Kong had put much effort and thought into planning Ms Ho's foray into the United States.
The lawyer tried to show that Kong had been careful with the budget for Ms Ho's English album and tried to control it.
But on Wednesday, the prosecution argued that this was not the case.
It was revealed that in a February 2005 email from Kong to American music producer, Justin Herz, the accused instructed Mr Herz to "plan as if 'the sky is the limit'".
Kong added they would then work out how they are going to get funds for the project.
In the email, Kong had said: "Again, let's plan as if 'the sky is the limit' and then work out how we are going to get the funds.
“If we have a solid, breakthrough plan and product (radio hit!), I am sure all the rest will work out by itself. But let's shoot for the top-of-the-line type of planning in everything that we do for Sun."
The reveal of the email prompted an immediate objection from Mr Tong, who said the document should not be introduced in court.
But the district judge allowed the move.
The prosecutor also asked Mr Hanafi if he remembered his previous testimony that there is no "bottomless pit" available to finance the Crossover Project, of which Ms Ho was part of.
Mr Hanafi said yes.
The Crossover Project aimed to reach out to the secular world through Ms Ho's music.
The prosecutor then asked if that was the case, why did Kong instruct Mr Herz to "plan as if 'the sky is the limit'”?
Mr Hanafi said he did not know.
During the hearing, Mr Hanafi also pointed out that Chew Eng Han, one of the accused, was the key person involved in financing the Crossover Project.
In June this year, 52-year-old Chew left the church citing differences with the church's leadership.
Later on Wednesday, a new witness took the stand.
The church's former auditor, Foong Daw Ching of accounting firm Baker Tilly, touched on the ties between him and the six accused.
He will testify again on Thursday.