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Prosecution wraps up case against City Harvest Church leaders

The prosecution on Monday wrapped up its case against the six leaders of the City Harvest Church after completing questioning of its last witness, Mdm Foong Ai Fang, an audit manager at Baker Tilly.

SINGAPORE: The prosecution on Monday wrapped up its case against the six leaders of the City Harvest Church after completing questioning of its last witness, Mdm Foong Ai Fang, an audit manager at Baker Tilly.

Church founder Kong Hee and his five deputies are accused of misusing millions of the church's building fund monies to boost the career of singer Sun Ho.

After 42 days in court, the defence lawyers have indicated that they will submit to the judge that the defendants have no case to answer.

Both the prosecution and defence will exchange written submissions on this in March.

In April, District Judge See Kee Oon will decide if the prosecution has produced sufficient evidence to support its claims of criminal breach of trust, among other things.

The prosecution argued that this was done through "sham bond investments" in Xtron and Firna.

Last month, the lead auditor in-charge of the church's accounts testified that the bond investments made by the church did not make sense.

Mr Sim Guan Seng of Baker Tilly said that the bond transactions between the church, Xtron and Firna looked as though they were set up for specific purposes, which would "raise a lot of red flags".

But the defence countered that the investments were not "sham" just because Mr Sim said they were not sound.

A key point of contention was the secrecy that shrouded the discussions among the accused.

Referring to various emails, the prosecution tried to make the point that the defendants were hiding information from the auditors as well as church members.

But the defence pointed out that there was no breach in the church's constitution when the Building Fund was used for the investments.

Its case is that it was always clear the church's building fund monies were used to produce Ms Ho's music albums and that the auditors signed off on the various audits.

It also stressed that no church money was lost.

But the court also heard that the information which the auditors based their work on came from the accused.

If the judge decides that the prosecution has produced sufficient evidence, the defence will present its case in July.


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