Susan Ong emphasized that she had full understanding of the documents she signed as trustee, authorizing the investment of a portion of the church’s building fund.
A second trustee of City Harvest Church was called to the stand this morning.
Susan Ong Sueh Lian is a financial services associate director for an insurance company and the wife of Derek Dunn, a former pastor of CHC. The couple moved to Orange County, California, US to start a ministry known as City Harvest Church US, an affiliated but separate entity of CHC.
As a financial services director, Ong specializes in quality assurance and risk management for individuals and corporations. She has been a Million Dollar Club member for several years and has been put at the exclusive “Court of the Table” of the Million Dollar Round Table, a pinnacle in the insurance industry.
As a CHC member when she was in Singapore, Ong held the post of a cell group leader and oversaw pastoral care of over 200 members in the church. She is currently still on CHC’s board of trustees.
Ong revealed to the court her understanding of her role as a trustee, which was to hold in custodian care any immovable asset of the church, in the interest of the church.
When questioned about her understanding of documents signed by the trustees, Ong said that although there were many documents signed over the years, each document would be explained to the trustees before they signed, and that there was never a time when she refused to sign or did not understand what she was signing.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong showed Ong a document known as the Power Of Attorney, which was signed by the Board of Trustees granting AMAC Capital Partners Pte Ltd the right to represent the trustees in matters of investments by the church.
The prosecution brought up an email pertaining to a deed of subordination. In the email, defendant Serina Wee, had asked fellow defendant Chew Eng Han, if he could meet the three trustees to explain the document as well as the financing of the Riverwalk property.
Wee had told Chew that Ong had highlighted to her that most of the time, the trustees were signing blindly. When prosecution asked Ong to explain what this meant, she replied that she did not recall saying this to Wee and that it might have been a case of her (Ong) having asked for more information and not wanting to sign blindly. Ong went a step further to suggest that prosecution pose the question to Wee instead.
In the course of cross-examination, defense lawyer for John Lam, Kenneth Tan established that the bonds issued by Firna have been fully redeemed and CHC did not exercise the right to convert the bonds to shares. This addressed the DPP’s question to Ong as to whether she had seen the letter from Lam to Firna about the convertibility of the bonds.
Defense lawyer for Kong Hee, Edwin Tong, asked Ong to state her understanding of CHC’s Crossover Project, to which she replied that the church did not exist for the project. The project is about reaching out to where the church cannot go. As it is not an easy world to reach out to, the project required someone of a strong character who will not be a victim of circumstances. As such, the church felt that Sun Ho was the most suitable candidate, not because she was the senior pastor’s wife. Ong reiterated that the candidate for the Crossover had to look the part, speak the part and dress the part; and this individual had to be someone with talent, willing to work hard, and not be tarnished by the world, and that Ho fulfilled all three criteria.
The court also heard that Sun’s work in the US was transitional. If Ho would become successful in the US, it would open doors for her to breakthrough into China. Ong added that the objective of the church’s vision had always been China.
Ong also confirmed that there were CHC members who had, on their own accord, put up financial contributions to sponsor the Crossover Project; and she was among those sponsors.
She explained that Xtron was a company that provided quality services that met CHC’s audio-visual needs. She said that Xtron was made up of top-notch audio visual, lighting people who handled concerts and conventions.
In response to questions by Chew Eng Han’s lawyer, Michael Khoo, Ong confirmed her view that bonds are legitimate financial instruments, based on her experience as a financial consultant involved with risk management. As a trustee of CHC, she did not have any problem with allowing the investment of the church’s building fund in bonds issued by Xtron.
She also agreed that as a trustee and executive member of the church, she knew that money for the bond subscription agreement came from surplus funds in the building fund, and that the seven percent rate of return it was to receive was “far superior” to the returns offered by banks.
In response to questions by Tan Ye Peng’s lawyer, N. Sreenivasan, Ong confirmed that she could take comfort as a trustee that CHC did not lose money.
In response to questions from Serina Wee’s lawyer, Andre Maniam, Ong confirmed that Sun was a very wholesome lady, and has raised a son who is wholesome, balanced and good-natured. Despite the glamorous world that Sun was in, she still has a “fantastic marriage” with Kong Hee and they are still “very much in love” after many years.
Court resumed at 2 pm with re-examination by the prosecution.
中文报道 – CHC审讯：第二名信托人证实《思创》债券乃合法工具