City Harvest trial: Church efforts 'not for ambition, personal gain'

Serina Wee disagreed she knew the bonds were a sham and that she had knowingly conspired with the others to misappropriate church funds.


SINGAPORE - The Crossover Project at the centre of the City Harvest Church trial was "always about the church" and not about herself, said pop singer Sun Ho on Tuesday.

Testifying in court, where she is on the stand for the first time since the City Harvest trial started in May 2013, Ms Ho also said she believed the project was a success.

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City Harvest Church's (CHC) former finance manager Serina Wee yesterday said she would never break the law.

She added that her actions were part of "the battle to see the vision of God come to pass".

Wee, 38, who was testifying on her final day on the witness stand, categorically denied all 10 charges levelled against her.

She maintained that she and the church leaders acted on the advice of lawyers and auditors.

Asked by her lawyer, Senior Counsel Andre Maniam, at the end of his re-examination of his client's evidence if she had anything to say about the many e-mail messages and documents at the centre of her month-long testimony, Wee spoke passionately.

"These are not just exhibits, they represent the many years the (church) team spent fighting to fulfil the vision of God over our church," she told the court.

"And it's not just us, it's Sun (pop singer Ho Yeow Sun) who laid down her life, the many staff who are involved, church members (who) prayed, people that gave.

"All this is not done for selfish ambition or personal gain, but just us fighting the battle to see the vision of God come to pass.

"I never thought any of these things were illegal or violating the law. And that is what I still firmly believe to this day."

Wee faces six charges relating to criminal breach of trust over church funds and four charges relating to the falsification of CHC accounts.

Alongside five others, she is said to have misused church money to bankroll Ms Ho's music career.

The six people are alleged to have misappropriated $24 million in church building funds through sham bond investments in the music production firm Xtron and glass manufacturer Firna, and another $26 million to cover it up.

The church leaders wanted to use the Crossover Project to spread the Gospel through Ms Ho's music.

Earlier yesterday, during the prosecution's cross-examination of her evidence, Wee disagreed that she knew the bonds were a sham and that she had knowingly conspired with the others to misappropriate church funds.

While Wee maintained that there were "real (legal) obligations and real returns", she said: "The purpose is to fund the music career (of Ms Ho) but it is also for returns for CHC."

Wee also denied falsifying church accounts by entering the alleged sham investments in its books.

Ms Ho will be called to the stand today - the 136th day of the trial - as a witness by former CHC investment manager Chew Eng Han, one of the six accused.

This article was first published on May 19, 2015.
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