In court today (18 Aug), former CHC treasurer Chew Eng Han, who is one of the 6 leaders being charged by the state, called Kong Hee a liar. Chew is defending himself.
Chew said Kong had lied in statements to the CAD about Chew’s involvement in transactions and Kong’s own knowledge of these. He also claimed that CHC leadership had lied about the music achievements of Kong’s wife, Sun Ho.
Chew told the court that one of Ms Ho’s achievements in China was actually “a scam”. He said that what Kong told the church about Ms Ho singing the theme song at the 2007 Special Olympics, and how she had been given a special commemorative series of stamps by organisations in China, were all “false claims”.
Chew said that she did not sing any theme song for the 2007 Special Olympics in Shanghai. As for the stamps, Chew said that “those stamps are nothing more than personalised stamps that anybody can go to the post office to pay for”. Chew produced copies of Ms Ho’s stamps and others in the China series to show the difference.
The 6 CHC leaders, including Kong, have been charged with conspiring to misuse $50.6 million of the church’s funds to bankroll his wife’s music career – $24 million to fund her singing career and another $26.6 million to cover the tracks of the first amount spent.
Prosecutors said that the 6 devised sham bond investments to embezzle money meant for a new church building and used most of it to finance Sun Ho’s pop singing career. Sun Ho isn’t charged with any offense.
She had been touted by the church as a big commercial success.
Chew said, “After a series of discoveries since 2013, I discovered the Crossover was not what it was supposed to be… Many members of City Harvest Church that trusted the leadership took what was told to us at face value. I was one of them.”
The music success of Ms Ho had been grossly exaggerated, Chew said and added that Kong knew that his wife’s secular music success was not real.
Kong knew all the while that money was being used to boost Ms Ho’s CD sales and her position on the music charts, Chew said as he continued to cross-examine Kong. Chew said that church members were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy her CDs
In his defence, Kong said, “They gave us the money and we used it for the buying (of) CDs. We didn’t buy the CDs as something fake, for every CD we bought, there was an intended recipient.”
Chew also charged that in a bid to boost sales, about $30,000 was spent on iTunes gift cards in 2009 to purchase Ms Ho’s US single Fancy Free.
Kong refuted this, saying that the money – which was less than $30,000 – came from private donations, and was not meant to boost sales of the single. “It was a marketing strategy to create momentum for the launch of her single,” Kong said.
Chew said that Ms Ho’s fan base was, in reality, smaller than what Kong allowed church members to believe.
At one point, Chew said to Kong in court, “I’ll submit to you that you consciously kept all relevant information away from me so that you could continue to use me to help you do whatever was necessary to help arrange the necessary funding.”