CHC trial: Former finance manager says she has no issues discussing finances with auditors

CHC trial: Former finance manager says she has no issues discussing finances with auditors

When Serina Wee was asked to meet the church's auditors, she was hesitant and requested for someone from Xtron Productions to be there as well.

Yesterday, she told the court she had asked in a 2009 e-mail for an Xtron director to accompany her because she did not want the auditors to misunderstand that City Harvest Church (CHC) was controlling Xtron.

"I'm only the accountant," she said.

Wee, CHC founder Kong Hee and four others are accused of misusing millions of church money.

First, $24 million from the church's building was allegedly misused to fund the music career of singer-pastor Ho Yeow Sun through two sham companies, Xtron Productions and Firna. Then, $26.6 million was allegedly used to cover up the initial amount.

Yesterday, former CHC finance manager Wee, 38, turned up in court in a black dress as the trial, which began in May 2013, resumed after a week's break.

NO ISSUES

Wee, who is the last of the accused to testify, said she did not have any issues discussing the church's finances with the auditors.

For example, in a 2009 e-mail, she had suggested meeting CHC's auditor Sim Guan Seng "out of courtesy" to discuss Xtron's audit report.

"I thought we should talk to Mr Sim. I've no issue going to him to discuss what was our issue," she said.

Wee also told the court that church member Wahju Hanafi had promised to use the money that CHC invested in his company, Firna, to fund Ms Ho's English album.

The money belonged to him and he was free to use it in whatever way he wanted.

For example, he had invested some of the money in shares without telling them, she said.

When her lawyer, Senior Counsel Andre Maniam, asked why she had called it "our money" in multiple e-mails, Wee said it was because Mr Hanafi had already pledged his money to the Crossover Project.

"I understand it to mean that it is for the Crossover Project, not that it belongs to some other individual," said Wee.

She added that she also kept track of the money only because Mr Hanafi had asked her to do so.

"This is purely administrative, just telling him when it is needed and where to send to," she said.

The trial continues today.


This article was first published on April 28, 2015.
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