Prosecution witness Koh Siow Ngea confirms that Xtron a separate legal entity from CHC; said success of Sun Ho was success of the Crossover project.
Did Xtron suffer losses and were they borne by City Harvest Church? That was the key focus as prosecution witness Koh Siow Ngea was cross-examined by defense lawyers in this morning’s session of the trial involving six leaders of the church.
This was in response to the prosecution’s argument yesterday that Xtron had made losses of more than $2 million in 2007 and more than $9 million in 2008.
But these were actually expenses incurred to produce and promote Sun Ho’s album before sales returns came in, the defense sought to establish this morning.
It was also revealed in court earlier today that the vision of using pop music for evangelism was communicated to the church members and it became officially known as the Crossover Project, and that about 500 executive members gave their unanimous support to this project.
The defense also sought to prove that since 2002, the CHC Board has supported the Crossover Project as being consistent with CHC’s mission to promote a ministry of evangelism for soul winning, both in Singapore and overseas. In 2007, the Board agreed to do whatever is necessary to show its support for Sun as what she is doing is a practical example of engaging Christ in culture.
The Crossover is “completely honest” as it does not benefit any particular member of CHC in isolation, but only the organizational vision as a whole, the defense argued.
Kong Hee’s lawyer Edwin Tong also asked Koh: “The Crossover was successful and you would regard the huge turnout (in concerts) as a gauge of the success?” Yes, replied Koh, who agreed that the success of Sun would equate to the success of the Crossover.
Another point brought up by the prosecution this morning was that Xtron was not independent of the church and was unable to make investment decisions on its own. But this was again challenged by the defense. When cross-examined by Tong, Koh confirmed that Xtron is a separate entity from the church in terms of accounts and directorship, although the two organisations had a “common vision”.
With regard to all the proposals that came from the church, Koh, a property developer, confirmed that he and Choong Kar Weng, the other Xtron director, would exercise independent judgment in safeguarding the interests of Xtron, naturally taking into consideration the objectives of the church since it was Xtron’s largest client.
Tong also presented emails of Xtron staff regarding equipment purchase and human resource matters such as staff salary and bonuses. The directors were able to keep abreast of the financial health of Xtron. These exchanges showed that Koh and Choong were consulted on all these matters and their approval pertaining to the daily operations had been sought.
Tong also sought to prove that Xtron engaged in business with other clients besides CHC. Examples include being engaged by the organisers of the inaugural Asian Youth Games, which was held in Singapore in 2009; corporate dinners of grassroots groups, banks, Singapore Management University and other foundations such as Mainly I Love Kids. Xtron was also involved in concerts put up by the likes of Emil Chau, JJ Lin and Sammi Cheng. In 2010, Xtron was also involved in the running of the events organised by Western Union, Ministry Of Manpower and *Scape. This could only mean one thing – that Xtron was clearly a “viable business”, argued Tong.
The defense also argued CHC’s Board, Investment Committee, Executive Members and external auditors were all aware of and approved the use of CHC’s building fund for investment into Xtron bonds.
The trial resumed at 2.15pm this afternoon.