Defense counsel pointed out that Foong Daw Ching had held himself out as the key person for CHC’s account in Baker Tilly and knew that the CHC team saw him as that.
The morning session saw Edwin Tong, defense counsel for Kong Hee, suggesting that some evidence that Foong Daw Ching gave in the past four days to the prosecution was inaccurate.
In the course of the examination-in-chief, Foong had established that he was not the engagement partner of City Harvest Church’s account and was not in the position to override the decisions made by the engagement partner. In the cross-examination, however, Tong showed, using the same emails as the prosecution, that Foong had taken a contrary view to Tiang Yii, the engagement partner for CHC at the time. Tiang had raised the point to Foong as well as Foong Ai Fong and Joseph Toh of Baker Tilly that, as the church management had used the building fund for rentals after verbally telling its executive members, she would raise a document ICM4 to accompany the audit. However, an email reply from Foong showed that he felt there was no need, as the rentals were understood to be temporary and the church board had already spoken to its members. In the final audit, there was no ICM4. Foong, however, denied that its omission had anything to do with him.
Foong was the former managing partner of Baker Tilly, the audit firm engaged by CHC and Xtron. He is now the partner.
He disagreed with the defense counsel saying the emails did not paint the full picture and insisted he could not influence the decision of the engagement partner.
Tong suggested that Foong was trying to distance himself from the advice he gave to the CHC team, and the fact that he held himself to be the “consultant partner” who personally oversaw the CHC account. He also said that Foong actually knew that the team had regarded him as the principal partner for the account.
Tong also questioned Foong on a Straits Times article dated August 29 in which his firm Baker Tilly had reportedly said Foong was giving advice to CHC on a personal basis. On his first day on the stand, Foong had told the court he was “very upset” with the article and did not know how the Straits Times had come by this information.
Tong asked Foong if he knew who had given the newspaper this information. He also asked Foong if he knew that Baker Tilly’s public relations company was Tranz Communications. Foong insisted that he did not know and that Sim Guan Seng, the current managing partner is in charge of PR for the company.
After Tong’s persistent questioning, Foong finally admitted, however, that the advice that he had given to CHC was given both as a friend and as a professional. When he claimed to have been unhappy about the contents of the Straits Times article, Tong asked him if he did anything about it. Foong chose to ask the court what Tong meant by “anything”.
Earlier in the day, deputy public prosecutor Mavis Chionh sought to clarify Foong’s involvement in matters regarding the Xtron bonds.
She said that earlier on in the trial, it had been put across to other witnesses that Foong was in the loop regarding the issuance of Xtron bonds.
She presented a chain of emails showing Serina Wee's discussion with Chew Eng Han and Tan Ye Peng on how Xtron was going to repay the interest and principal amount of the bonds. Chionh asked Foong if anyone had shown him Xtron's cash flow and spoke to him about how Xtron would repay the bonds.
Foong's reply was that he didn't recall being in the loop and was surprised to hear this.
Court resumed at 2.30 pm with cross-examination of Foong.