I shouldn't have backdated minutes: Finance manager

I shouldn't have backdated minutes: Finance manager

Grilled by the prosecution, City Harvest Church (CHC) finance manager Sharon Tan yesterday admitted she should not have backdated the minutes of a church board meeting.

But she insisted it was never her intention to trick auditors.

Tan is one of six accused, including CHC founder Kong Hee, facing charges of misusing church funds.

The claims include the church making sham investments worth millions in Xtron, an artist management firm, so the money could be used to illegally fund the secular music career of Kong's wife Ho Yeow Sun. As part of its case, the prosecution is trying to show that CHC was in control of Xtron, though Tan insisted they were independent of each other, even though she was involved in compiling the salaries of the firm's staff.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mavis Chionh presented to court the minutes of a 2008 CHC investment committee meeting, at which church member and Xtron director Koh Siow Ngea was present. Tan had, earlier in the trial, given evidence that she changed the date of the meeting so that it would have seemed to have taken place before Mr Koh got his position at Xtron.

"You are perfectly willing to falsify documents that you know are going to be shown to the auditors, if you think it is necessary to achieve a certain purpose," Ms Chionh put it to Tan.

She disagreed initially, before telling the court: "At that point in time, I was overly paranoid over the conflict of interest. Yes, Your Honour, in hindsight, I shouldn't have done it, but it was never my intention to defraud the auditors."

Ms Chionh also asked Tan why she had said in her statement to the Commercial Affairs Department that Xtron directors did not make major decisions, and were only "consulted". Tan claimed she expressed herself wrongly, due to her poor command of English.

Several times yesterday, Ms Chionh accused Tan, whose cross-examination continues today, of being untruthful, of not making sense and giving excuses.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Sep 24, 2014.
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