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Mega City Harvest Church Theft – All 6 Leaders Guilty Of Stealing S$50 Million



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Oct 21 2015
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In 1989, together with his wife Sun Ho, Mr. Kong Hee founded a megachurch – City Harvest Church (CHC) – which becomes one of Singapore’s wealthiest evangelical churches, boasting 30,000 members and 15 services every weekend. The church claims to have 48 affiliates in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Taiwan, India and Australia.

Singapore City Harvest Church - Building External

Singapore City Harvest Church - Internal Worshippers

Today, the CHC founder together with 5 (five) other church leaders have been found guilty of misappropriating S$50 million (US$35.8 million; £23 million; RM154 million) of church funds and falsifying the church’s accounts to cover up their misdeeds. Singapore prosecutors said the misuse of funds happened between 2007 and 2008.

 

Besides 55-year-old CHC founder and senior pastor Kong Hee, other partners-in-crime include deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, 42; former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han, 55; former CHC finance managers Serina Wee, 38, and Sharon Tan, 40; and former CHC finance committee member John Lam Leng Hung, 47.

Singapore City Harvest Church - Theft by Six Leaders

They were accused of misappropriating S$24 million in church funds, funnelling them into bogus investments that funded the singing career of the pastor’s wife, Ms Ho Yeow Sun (Sun Ho). Later, a further S$26 million was used to cover their tracks. The six faced varying counts of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts.

 

Mr. Kong and John Lam were found guilty of three charges of criminal breach of trust. Tan Ye Peng, Chew and Wee were convicted of six charges of criminal breach of trust and four charges of falsifying accounts. Meanwhile, Sharon Tan was found guilty of three charges of criminal breach of trust and four charges of falsifying accounts.

Singapore City Harvest Church - founder Kong Hee and wife Sun Ho

Delivering the verdict to a packed courtroom, Judge See Kee Onn said Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Chew and Wee each clearly played a substantial role in conceiving and executing the plan to channel CHC’s Building Fund through music firm Xtron, which manages Ms Sun Ho, for Crossover Project, a project started by the church in 2002 to evangelise through Ms Ho’s pop music.

 

Although John Lam’s role was evidently less substantial, the judge concluded that he had his own part to play as a board member and investment committee member. While Judge See has not delivered the sentencing, all the six church leaders are looking at a maximum cumulative sentence of 20 years, in addition to a fine.

Singapore City Harvest Church - co-founder Sun Ho - Ho Yeow Sun

Apparently, the church leaders claimed that the Xtron bonds purchased using CHC’s Building Fund were genuine investments which could yield financial returns. They claimed Ms Sun Ho’s planned US Crossover album could sell more than 200,000 copies. However, Judge See wasn’t convinced and said it was not a realistic expectation.

 

Judge See also slapped a bail of S$1 million each to Kong, Tan Ye Peng, Chew and Lam. Bail amount was set at S$750,000 for Sharon Tan and Serina Wee. Wee was previously out on bail for S$500,000. All six are barred from travelling overseas. The CHC trial is one of the longest-running criminal battles in Singapore history, started in 2013 and has gone on for 140 days in court.

Singapore City Harvest Church - co-founder Sun Ho - Ho Yeow Sun Photo

Singapore City Harvest Church - co-founder Sun Ho - Ho Yeow Sun Photo 2

Ms Sun Ho’s music career was initially funded by the church but after disgruntled church member Roland Poon made public allegations in 2003 the funds were being misused to bankroll her music projects, all hell breaks loose. Started her music career in 2002, Ms Ho has several albums in Mandarin to her name and is known in China and Taiwan.

 

The defence lawyers, interestingly, argued that the six church leaders did nothing for personal gain, but out of a belief in the evangelistic mandate of the church. However, they have clearly misuse CHC’s funds by siphoning off large amounts from the building fund for Sun Ho’s music career.

Singapore City Harvest Church - founder Kong Hee and wife Sun Ho - Graduation

Singapore City Harvest Church - Churchgoers Worship

Most importantly, they chose to defraud the auditors with falsified accounts suggesting a series of genuine transactions for the redemption of bonds and advance rental. Furthermore, there was no expectation that the money funnelled to Sun Ho’s music career would be repaid, not to mention the bond investments were not an authorised use of the building fund.

 

In a statement posted on the church’s website, Ms Sun Ho said they were “disappointed by the outcome”. She added that all six involved in the case are studying the judgement and will await further legal advice. “God is making us stronger, purer and more mature as a congregation,” she said on behalf of the CHC Management Board.

Singapore City Harvest Church - founder Kong Hee and wife Sun Ho - Posed with Dead Cat

Singapore City Harvest Church - How to Theft and Scandal Work

So, it seems not only Saudi government who often uses God to cover their incompetency, these 6 Singaporeans thieves also use God to cover their theft, in spite of glaring evidence that church funds have been misused by them. Sure, they argued that Ms Ho’s music was part of a church project but amusingly her videos and lyrics have little to do with Christianity.

 

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