City Harvest trial: 'Voting by executive members was to show confidence'

SINGAPORE - Church trustee Susan Ong said members knew the church building fund was going to be used to buy bonds and had even voted on it.

Executive members were notified about this at "an AGM (annual general meeting) or EOGM (extraordinary general meeting, also known as EGM)" some time back, she said.

But this was not reflected on church meeting minutes, the prosecution said.

The only time the matter of using the building fund to pay for bonds came up was on Aug 1, 2010, during the church's EGM, where it was put to a vote, the prosecution added.

And by then, the money had already been used because the church's constitution allowed the management board to make decisions on behalf of the members, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Christopher Ong, referring to minutes from the Aug 1 meeting.

Madam Ong agreed that voting by the executive members was simply to show their vote of confidence.

Bond amount

Minutes from that meeting showed the Xtron Productions' bond amount was raised from $13 million to $25 million.

Another $24.5 million went to bonds from PT The First National Glassware.

Finally, members also agreed to pay $53.3 million from the building fund to Xtron as licensing fees and a security deposit.

This was in payment for Xtron helping to secure an auditorium for the church over the next eight years in 2009.

Interestingly, the EGM was held just two months after the Commissioner of Charities and the Commercial Affairs Department began probes into the church for misuse of funds.

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