I sacrificed for the church even in my darkest hours.
Former City Harvest Church (CHC) leader Chew Eng Han told the court yesterday that he had believed in and worked for the church and his spiritual mentor Kong Hee, even as he was suffering from depression.
"Since I joined (in 1995), I've given over $600,000 to the church in the form of tithes and building fund.
What I wanted to do is lessen the burden for the members," he said. Chew, 54, is one of six leaders, including CHC founder Kong, accused of misusing millions of church money to fund the music career of singer-pastor Ho Yeow Sun.
Chew, who is representing himself after discharging his lawyer last May, left the church in June 2013, reportedly citing "a collision of primarily spiritual and moral principles".
He is the fourth accused to take the stand. He told the court yesterday that he suffered from depression from 2007 till 2009.
This stemmed from a series of events such as his wife suffering from deep vein thrombosis, his daughter breaking her ankle during cheerleading practice and him losing money in the stock market and his savings when the subprime mortgage crisis happened.
"I lost all confidence in my trading abilities. I would have trouble sleeping and wake up each morning with a heavy head and feeling confused.
"Nobody would guess I was going through depression from the way I was continuing to serve the church, doing the Xtron bonds and... Firna bonds," he said.
He also said that in 2006, he and another CHC member donated $40,000 to Xtron, which was Ms Ho's management company, from 2003 to 2008. The money was meant to be used for Ms Ho's expenses, he added.
"This was because Kong Hee came to me and explained that they had a lot of travelling to do in the United States. Because of the tight budget of Xtron, they had to fly economy class and that it was a long flight and very tiring for them.
"I never had bad intentions to cause losses to the church. Everything I did, I did it for God and for Kong Hee, who I thought was the man of God."
After Chew wrapped up giving his evidence, he was cross-examined by co-accused and former CHC board member John Lam's lawyer, Senior Counsel Kenneth Tan.
During the cross-examination, Chew told the court that CHC had a practice of "writing dates of meetings that sometimes don't take place".
Kong's lawyer, Senior Counsel Edwin Tong, is expected to continue with the cross-examination today.
This article was first published on Jan 30, 2015.
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