Prosecution witness, who is a trained accountant, says executive members knew that building fund was used for investments since around 2007.
Would you be aware if building funds of the church were used to purchase Xtron and Firna bonds?
And you had no difficulties with the investment?
And, that to your understanding, the church’s auditor, was also not troubled about the genuineness of such investments?
Yes, yes and yes.
Those were the responses given by prosecution witness Lai Baoting, a former accounts officer of City Harvest Church in the last half hour of today’s first session of the trial involving CHC leaders accused of funds misappropriation under the cross-examination of defense lawyers, Kenneth Tan, Edwin Tong and Kannan Ramesh.
Before joining church as staff, Lai worked as an auditor. She graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a Bachelor of Accountancy in 2004 and garnered the qualification of Certified Public Accountant in 2010.
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Senior counsel Kannan Ramesh also asked Lai whether she, as an executive member of CHC in 2007, was privy to information about investments of the church’s building fund into Xtron and Firna. She replied yes. She also confirmed that she had no issue with that, and that the Extraordinary General Meeting in 2007 informed executive members of such investments being made.
Referring to minutes of meeting for the closing of financial years 2008 and 2009, Kannan, a senior counsel, also asked Lai if Mr Sim (Guan Seng, the managing partner of Baker Tilly) was “not troubled by the authenticity” of the investment of the building fund into Xtron and Firna. Lai confirmed that.
This court exchange kicked off the defense’s cross-examination.
With regard to making entries into the accounts of the church, Kong’s lawyer Edwin Tong asked Lai: “Did you ever receive any instructions from Pastor Kong?”
“No,” said Lai.
The trial continues this afternoon.