Defence: Understandable why CHC was discreet

Defence: Understandable why CHC was discreet

SINGAPORE - For the Crossover Project to succeed, City Harvest Church had to be discreet about its involvement.

The project was the church's bid to reach out to the secular world through Ms Ho Yeow Sun, the wife of church founder Kong Hee. As a successful pop singer, she could preach to those who do not usually associate themselves with the church and Christianity.

Given the sensitive nature of evangelising in countries that disapprove of open preaching, "it was understandable why the church would want to be discreet" about funding such a project, defence lawyer Kannan Ramesh said in court on Thursday.

Auditors from the firm Baker Tilly had not raised concerns about the financial transactions that took place then, Mr Ramesh added. They had signed off on the church's financial statements in 2007 and 2008, when some of the alleged illegal transactions took place.

Kong and five others are accused of misusing more than $50 million of church money - $24 million was allegedly funnelled into sham bond investments to fund Ms Ho's music career and another $26 million was allegedly used to cover up the first amount.

Mr Ramesh also asked auditor Foong Daw Ching, 63, why certain recommendations were not reflected in the financial statements.

Mr Foong said he could not comment.

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