Trustee did not see investment documents

SINGAPORE - City Harvest trustee Jeffrey Cheong had not seen several documents relating to the church's investments, the court heard on Friday.

But the regional sales manager said he trusted the board to have acted with "due diligence".

One of the documents in question was a letter to glassware manufacturer Firna from one of the accused - former secretary of the church's management board, John Lam Leng Hung.

The church had agreed to invest up to $24.5 million in Firna bonds, although only $11 million was eventually given to the company towards this.

Part of the contract allowed the church to convert the bonds to shares in the company. But Lam promised in the letter that if this was ever done, City Harvest would sell back those shares "at a nominal value of US$1".

The State is accusing six City Harvest leaders of using Firna and Xtron Productions to funnel $24 million of church funds into paying for Ms Ho Yeow Sun's secular pop music career, then misappropriating another $26.6 million to cover that up.

Of the $11 million given by the church to Firna, $10.9 million was transferred to Ultimate Assets, Ms Ho's management company at the time.

A senior officer from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) also took the stand but was unable to resolve disputed travel records.

These had suggested that two Xtron directors signed off minutes of meetings held when they were apparently abroad.

Defence lawyers said the records were inaccurate or incomplete as there were several instances of consecutive entries or exits.

The deputy head of the ICA's data processing centre, Ms Chiew Meng Lay, said the agency had tried to investigate further but lacked "the required information" because the instances happened at least five years ago.

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