The prosecution appeared to discredit its third witness; Koh Siow Ngea says date discrepancies are not sinister but due to human error.
For several times since last Wednesday, the prosecution surprised its own witnesses by presenting new evidence during re-examination.
The first time was during its cross-examination of first witness Lai Bao Ting, and the latest move happened during the re-examination of Koh Siow Ngea this morning, much to the objection of majority of the senior counsels.
Today, the prosecution attempted to argue against what the defense sought to establish in court yesterday – that Xtron was a viable business entity independent of City Harvest Church.
The session, which lasted almost three hours, saw Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong’s seeking to discredit its own witness Koh, claiming that the latter’s testimonial given in court yesterday was inconsistent with that of Monday.
Ong also pressed Koh for recollection of details and dates of meeting that took place five years ago. Koh said he could not remember these details.
Ong then presented minutes of City Harvest Church’s Investment Committee meeting on 29 July 2007, suggesting that the meeting did not take place, to the objection of defense lawyer N. Sreenivasan.
The defense also strongly objected to senior district judge See Kee Oon allowing Ong to produce several additional documents that were not referred to in the previous two days. Normally, the prosecution may only re-examine based on documents already marked in court.
Ong sought to highlight what seemed like discrepancies in the minutes of a meeting for CHC’s investment committee, CHC board meeting minutes that Koh had signed off on, and Wahju Hanafi’s guarantee to Xtron and the back-up guarantee signed by Koh, Chew Eng Han, Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng.
Based on a series of emails, DPP Ong questioned Koh on why the two guarantees indemnifying Xtron’s costs for the Crossover Project do not reflect their actual dates. Koh explained that these were lapses caused by human error, and that “we are never perfect” when dating of certain documents, because of various factors such the need for a lead time to draft documents and the need to take in amendments. He added that there was nothing sinister about these mistakes.
Koh also mentioned that the personal guarantee that Koh, with three others, gave to Hanafi in 2010 was like “hugging him to show our support for him”, for his indemnifying the Crossover Project.
The session today marked the end of the first of what looks like three tranches of trial dates. The second tranche is scheduled for August.