The prosecution’s ninth witness had previously served in the Accounting Standards Council’s Committee for Charities.
Those who have been attending the ongoing City Harvest Church court proceedings were finally able to put a face to the person called “Bro Foong” this afternoon, as the prosecution called its ninth witness to the stand. Foong’s name had appeared in emails exchanged between several of the accused.
Conducted by lead prosecutor Mavis Chionh, the examination-in-chief commenced at about 5 pm.
The court had heard from prosecution witness Choong Kar Weng in August that Foong Daw Ching was the managing partner of Baker Tilly TFW LLP, the audit firm for both Xtron and CHC. He stepped down from his position in 2010 and is today a partner at the audit firm.
Foong, a Christian from Church of Singapore at Marine Parade, holds several positions of church leadership, including chairman of the elder board at his church and treasurer of the Evangelical Fellowship of Singapore.
Foong told the court that he served in the Accounting Standards Council, in the Committee for Charities, where his main responsibility entailed preparing accounting standards for charitable organizations. When quizzed by DPP Chionh, Foong confirmed that the accounting standards he prepared for the Committee two or three years ago have been adopted by various charities in Singapore.
DPP Chionh also asked Foong about an article dated Aug. 29, 2013 in the Straits Times, which quoted his office as saying that Foong was only giving personal advice to City Harvest Church. Asked if he had spoken to the media, Foong clarified that he had not done so, and that he was “most upset” about that article.
In testifying about his relationship with Kong Hee, whom he was introduced to in 1993, Foong replied that he had respect for him as a church leader. His working relationship with Kong extended beyond accounting matters regarding CHC to include Kong’s personal taxes.
Earlier, a teary-eyed Wahju Hanafi had emerged from the courtroom late this afternoon, after nine days on the stand.
Throughout the final phase of his reexamination, the prosecution pressed Hanafi for the real reason behind the signing of the CHC-Firna bonds. The prosecution claims that the Firna bonds were a front to funnel the church’s building fund into the Crossover Project.
Hanafi, however, maintained that the bonds were meant to provide working capital for Firna. DPP Tan then reproduced an email showing what seemed to be Serina Wee giving him instructions on where to transfer the funds after he received it. Hanafi explained that it could have been because Wee, at that time, was already aware that Hanafi had extra funds coming in from a bank in Papua New Guinea and could expend those funds for matters related to the Crossover Project.
The prosecution also attempted to elicit specific names from its witness as to the person in charge of the drawing down of the bonds, to which Hanafi responded as he did in his examination-in-chief—that he entrusted the signed drawdown forms to his Xtron co-director Choong Kar Weng and Serina Wee. Asked who was responsible for sourcing for funds for the Crossover Project, Hanafi replied that the key person was Chew Eng Han.
Court resumes at 10 am tomorrow.