City Harvest trial: Sun Ho called as defence witness

City Harvest trial: Sun Ho called as defence witness
Kong Hee, founder of City Harvest Church (CHC), walking hand-in-hand with his wife, singer Ho Yeow Sun, popularly known as Sun Ho, outside the Subordinate Courts on 26 August 2013.

SINGAPORE  -She is the central figure in one of the longest-running trials in Singapore.

Millions of dollars - taken from church funds - were allegedly misused to fund her music career. More money was then allegedly used to cover up the original amount.

And Ms Ho Yeow Sun, 42, may appear in court and testify as the trial against the six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders resumes today.

She was called as a defence witnesses by former church leader Chew Eng Han, who is expected to take the stand to present his defence today.

Chew, along with CHC founder Kong Hee and four others, are accused of misusing millions in church funds.

First, $24 million from the church's building fund was allegedly used to fund Ms Ho's albums through sham bonds invested in two "shell companies" - music production firm Xtron Productions and glass manufacturer Firna.

Another $26.6 million was used to allegedly cover up the $24 million.

Kong, former board member John Lam, finance manager Sharon Tan, former fund manager Chew, deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng and former finance manager Serina Wee face charges of criminal breach of trust and/or falsifying accounts.

They were charged in 2012.


Since the start of the trial, prosecutors have sought to show how Xtron and Firna directors simply did the accused's bidding.

The defence has argued that the transactions were legitimate, with the accused acting "in good faith" on the advice of lawyers and auditors.

The trial, which has gone on for 88 days, is already turning into one of the longest-running trials here.

Kong, Lam and Sharon Tan have testified.

Chew, who is unrepresented after discharging his lawyer in last May, is next on the witness stand.

The remaining two church leaders, Wee and Tan Ye Peng, will give their defence after him.

Chew reportedly left the church in June 2013 after 17 years, citing "a collision of primarily spiritual and moral principles".

The former church stalwart and investment manager has not held back when he cross-examined his co-accused last year.

Most notably, he accused Kong of lying to church members when Kong took the stand last August.

"One of the reasons why I left your church is because when I look at this, I realise that you deceived... the people who are closest to you," he had said.

Chew is also facing a separate, pending civil suit by CHC for $21 million.

This article was first published on January 26, 2015.
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