- POSTED: 15 Jan 2014 13:37
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The external auditor of the City Harvest Church testified on Wednesday that there was no breach in the church's constitution when the Building Fund was used in bond subscription.
SINGAPORE: The external auditor of the City Harvest Church testified on Wednesday that she did not doubt the veracity of the Xtron bonds bought by the church.
Taking the stand for a third day, Ms Tiang Yii of Baker Tilly said she never doubted the bonds were issued through events company Xtron and bought by AMAC Capital Partners.
AMAC is owned by one of the accused, Chew Eng Han, who was in-charge of the church's investments.
Ms Tiang explained that she only had doubts after news reports of a probe into the alleged misuse of funds came to light in 2010.
During cross-examination, Ms Tiang agreed there was no breach in the church's constitution when the Building Funds was used in the bond subscription.
She testified that the church's subscription to Xtron bonds was authorised.
Xtron was the firm managing singer Sun Ho's music career.
It had a bond subscription agreement with the church to raise funds for Ms Ho's music.
Under the agreement, money from the church was used in the production of the singer's albums.
Ms Tiang agreed that "the use of the proceeds were in line with the stated objectives in the bond".
The prosecution's case is that Xtron was a financial vehicle used by church founder Kong Hee and five deputies to channel the church's Building Funds into Ms Ho's career through what they called "sham bond investments".
The defence also argued that the use of the Building Funds to pay for advance rental was not a technical breach.
Ms Tiang agreed.
However, she added that she would not accept such use of funds as authorised, even if the church's board of directors had approved it.
She said the use of the funds for advance rental payment to Xtron, must, first of all be pre-approved by members.
This was because that's where the "potential donors are", she said.
The court also heard that Ms Tiang's colleague, Mr Foong Daw Ching, had been communicating with the accused on bond issues and the use of the Building Funds.
Ms Tiang said she was not aware of this.
The defence's point is that the accused had been seeking Mr Foong's advice proactively, but this information was not shared with Ms Tiang and that he had failed in his duty.
Previously, Mr Foong testified he had dispensed general advice to the accused in his personal capacity.
The defence also pointed out that accused John Lam was roped in to help with the discussion on the church's accounts and its bond subscription with Xtron due to his educational qualifications.
His lawyer, Kenneth Tan pointed out to Ms Tiang that Lam had studied accounting.
The trial continues.