Kong 'lied about control of Crossover Project'

SINGAPORE - City Harvest Church's former fund manager yesterday accused founding pastor Kong Hee of lying about how much control he had over the Crossover Project, which involved using his wife's secular music as an evangelising tool.

"That's a lie," said Chew Eng Han, when asked if Kong had been right to claim he was not involved in the financing of Xtron, the production company set up by church leaders which managed the music career of Ms Ho Yeow Sun.

Chew's reply was part of a series of exchanges with Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong, who presented a list of claims made by Kong when he took the stand last year.

And the 54-year-old Chew, who quit the church in 2013 after 18 years of service, unhesitatingly rejected Kong's claims.

"So Kong... has testified that the budget was actually decided by the Xtron directors," DPP Ong said. "Is that correct?"

"No," Chew said.

"He has testified that the Xtron directors would independently decide if there was money to carry out the budgeted plans. Is he correct?"

"No," Chew repeated.

Kong, the prosecutor continued, has generally taken the position that he did not exercise overall control over the project.

Was that correct?

Chew again said no.

And was it correct to say, in other words, that Kong had lied about his position of control over the project and the budget of Ms Ho's music production?

Yes, Chew said.

The Crossover Project lies at the heart of a long-running criminal case involving six of the megachurch's leaders, including Kong and Chew.

They have been accused of misusing some $50 million of church funds to boost Ms Ho's music career, and then orchestrating "sham" financial transactions to mask the alleged wrongdoing.

Yesterday, the prosecution also questioned Chew on other matters to do with Xtron and the Crossover Project, which involved the production of a pop album by Ms Ho in America.

The album was not released.

He said that he was "not sure" whether he had informed the church's auditor in 2007 that Xtron had been incorporated by the church specially for the Crossover.

DPP Ong also charged that Chew had not told the auditor about how much control the church, Kong and deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng had over Xtron and its directors.

"Yes, your Honour, because at that point...I didn't know about the degree of control," Chew said.

He admitted that it was inaccurate to have told the auditor instead that Xtron was started in 2003 to manage CHC's future building or to be an events management company.

Mr Ong then charged that the aim of describing Xtron's incorporation in that way was to deceive the auditor as to the actual relationship between Xtron, the church and Ms Ho's music career.

Chew, who is conducting his own defence, disagreed.

This article was first published on January 3, 2015.
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