City Harvest Church ex-finance chief charged

SINGAPORE - City Harvest Church's (CHC) ex-finance chief Serina Wee, 35, was charged this morning, making her the sixth person to face criminal charges over the alleged siphoning of church funds.

The Straits Times reported that Wee faces six charges of criminal breach of trust and four for falsifying accounts.

Her bail has been set at $500,000.

The other five charged so far are founding pastor Kong Hee, 47; church management board member John Lam Leng Hung, 44; Kong's deputy Tan Ye Peng, 39; church finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen, 36; and investment manager Chew Eng Han, 52.

Prosecutors believe that at least $23 million was invested in alleged sham transactions to fund the pop music career of Kong's wife, Sun Ho.

The funds were said to have been put into a $13 million bond investment with Xtron Productions, while $11 million was allegedly put into another company called PT The First National Glassware.

It is believed that some of the accused also conspired to misappropriate another $26.6 million of church funds so that it would seem like the alleged sham bond investments were redeemed. This is called 'round-tripping'.

Kong arrived at the Subordinate Court at 8.55am this morning for a second mention of the high-profile case, which first came under scrutiny in early 2010, when the Commissioner of Charities (COC) received complaints alleging the misuse of the charity's funds.

The five have not pleaded guilty. The offence of criminal breach of trust carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, and/or a fine. For the charge of falsifying accounts, the accused may be punishable with a life sentence, or jail of up to 20 years and a fine.

City Harvest church founder, 4 others charged in court
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, AsiaOne, Reuters, AFP)
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