Fifth prosecution witness Jeffrey Cheong was one of three trustees who gave power of attorney to AMAC to manage the church’s funds.
This morning, the prosecution’s fifth witness, Jeffrey Cheong Tuck Mun, a regional sales manager and founding member of City Harvest Church took the stand. Cheong is one of three trustees of the church.
Examiner-in-chief DPP Mavis Chionh presented Cheong several documents including the Power of Attorney and the Deed of Subordination that were signed by all three trustees. Some of these documents went back as far as 2007 and 2008, and according to Cheong, he could not remember some of the details. However, the witness remembered that for each document he signed he would be briefed and given an explanation of the contents of the document. He said he would not have signed the documents if he had been troubled by their contents.
DPP Chionh established that Cheong and his fellow trustees did not physically meet to sign documents, but each would sign documents separately either at the lawyers’ office or brought documents by the CHC finance team. Also, Chionh tried to show that information regarding the subordination of CHC in a bank loan that Xtron took from Standard Chartered Bank, had not been revealed to the executive members of CHC, despite the fact Cheong had been in the extraordinary general meeting of 2008. However, the supporting document the DPP asked to show—the minutes from CHC’s Annual General Meeting of 2009—could not be shown.
During cross-examination, Cheong revealed to the court that the Board of Trustees was not usually involved in the negotiations and deliberations that took place, and that he believed that the church’s Board of Directors would do what was necessary.
It was established by senior counsel Kenneth Tan, the defense counsel for John Lam, that under the deed in which the CHC trustees accorded Power of Attorney to AMAC Capital Partners, CHC’s investment fund manager, AMAC had been empowered to negotiate and make decisions on behalf of the church. Cheong confirmed as one of CHC’s trustees that the whole church, including the Management board and executive members had agreed that CHC’s investments would be handled by AMAC, which would invest as it saw fit according to the investment policy that CHC had set out.
Kannan Ramesh, senior counsel for Sharon Tan put forth that Cheong had a fairly accurate picture when it came to the Deed of Subordination which he signed off on as a trustee of the church. Cheong confirmed that he had been briefed by a lawyer of Rajah & Tann LLP, before signing.
Senior counsel Michael Khoo for Chew Eng Han gave an example of CHC’s lease of an HDB property in Jurong West. While the lease was registered under the Board of Trustees, the task of negotiation was left to the Management Board of the church, as none of the trustees had expert property knowledge. Likewise, the trustees could leave the negotiations of fund investments to AMAC, which had been given the power of attorney to carry out investment decisions on behalf of CHC.
Court adjourned for the morning session and resumed at 2 pm, with the examination of an ICA officer, followed by key prosecution witness, Wahju Hanafi.
中文报道 – 信托人在教会资产托管人的权限内行事