Church leaders 'controlled' Xtron

Church leaders 'controlled' Xtron
A court security officer handing out passes to people who had queued to attend the second leg of the City Harvest Church trial.

SINGAPORE - City Harvest Church leaders ran the show in all but name at Xtron Productions, a music company that they allegedly used to illegally divert church funds to.

This was the picture that prosecutors tried to paint on the opening day of the second leg of the criminal trial against church founder Kong Hee and five of his deputies.

They spent the day questioning one witness, Xtron director Choong Kar Weng, and tried to show that Xtron was not the independent entity it made itself out to be, but was controlled by church leaders; and Mr Choong, a mere puppet of the leadership.

The Malaysian businessman, for instance, was not aware of e-mails from the firm's accountants showing they consulted the megachurch on decisions ranging from its accounts to staff employment.

He signed incomplete documents - which had blank portions - related to bonds eventually sold by Xtron to the church, although when asked, he said this was done as he was not based in Singapore.

He also signed off on minutes of meetings even though immigration records apparently showed he was not in the country.

Xtron was set up as a music production house and concert organiser in 2003 by two of the accused, John Lam Leng Hung and Chew Eng Han, and Chew's wife Chong Lay Choo.

It is one of two companies accused of helping the megachurch to funnel church funds to bankroll the music career of singer-pastor Ho Yeow Sun, who is Kong's wife. Xtron managed Ms Ho from 2003 to 2008 and provided audio-visual and real estate services to the church.

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