SINGPORE - Sun Ho's success was a result of church members spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy her CDs as well as lies about her achievements and awards, said former church treasurer Chew Eng Han.
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$500,000 to buy Sun Ho's unsold albums
Ronald Loh | The New Paper | Thur, Aug 07, 2014
SINGAPORE - She was supposed to become a global superstar and then use her popularity to spread the church's message.
But the reality was that Ms Ho Yeow Sun, who uses the stage name Sun Ho, had many unsold albums.
So much so that City Harvest Church (CHC) spent close to half-a-million dollars to buy back 32,500 of her Mandarin albums languishing on shelves in Taiwan, Indonesia and the US in 2004.
The prosecution yesterday revealed these details, which were in an e-mail by former CHC finance manager Serina Wee, as the trial against six of the megachurch's leaders resumed after a two-week break.
Wee, CHC founder Kong Hee, and four others, are accused of misusing more than $50 million of church money through sham bonds. (See report above.)
Some of this money was allegedly used to fund the music career of Ms Ho, who is married to Kong, 49.
Former board member John Lam, 46, is the first accused to take the stand for the defence.
Yesterday, when Chief Prosecutor Mavis Chionh showed the unsold-album figures to Lam during the cross-examination, he claimed he did not realise at the time that Ms Ho's album sales were doing badly.
He said he was merely asked to find a way for CHC to avoid paying the 5 per cent GST while buying back Ms Ho's unsold albums and he had not "connected" the facts.
Ms Chionh rebutted: "Your last few answers are incredible lies and you are lying because you are desperate to maintain that Sun Ho's albums were doing well."
She also pointed out that Lam had earlier admitted that Ms Ho's artist management company, Xtron, was not profitable.
Yet he was involved in purchasing $13 million of Xtron bonds, which were rated as "junk bonds", because he believed Ms Ho's albums would do well, she said.
Xtron is one of two companies accused of helping the megachurch's leaders to funnel church funds illegally to bankroll the pastor-singer's music career. It managed Ms Ho from 2003 to 2008.
Said Ms Chionh: "The truth is that you knew that the bonds were not meant as an investment at all. They were a sham device that you and your co-accused came up with to find a way of moving money from the (church's) Building Fund to pay for Sun Ho's music career," she said.
Lam said he disagreed.
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