Defense lawyer Edwin Tong showed in court that despite his self-proclaimed weakness at handling technical papers and doing valuations, Foong Daw Ching had previously appeared in the High Court as an expert witness.
Over the past four days on the stand, Foong Daw Ching testified that he was not good with technical papers and valuation of assets, and that he did not like reading agreements. Hence he claims he did not read a number of documents that the CHC team had sent him.
This afternoon, however, defense lawyer Edwin Tong challenged his claims by taking the court through Foong’s long list of credentials and his previous appearances as an expert witness in the High Court, in which he gave evidence in cases involving auditing and valuation of assets.
According to Tong, this seemed to contradict the professional image he had painted of himself over the last four days that he was “very, very weak” in matters relating to financial instruments and that he was not good at doing valuations.
In his own defense, Foong testified that during the course of his appearance as an expert witness, he had a team of people assisting him with the more technical aspects of the background.
Earlier, Tong also sought to show the court through email evidence that Foong had formed and expressed his own view to the CHC team without discussing with CHC’s engagement partner at the time, Tiang Yii and the audit manager Foong Ai Fang.
Foong had held a different position from Tiang regarding a portion of a letter from the audit firm to CHC’s management board, which concerned the use of donations for the church’s building fund. Tiang’s view was not reflected in the final management letter.
After questioning Foong over a series of emails and documents, Tong suggested that from the evidence presented during the EIC, Foong had portrayed himself to be the principal partner and key person taking care of CHC’s audit matters, but now from his evidence given to the prosecution, Foong now sought to distance himself from the advice he had given over the years to the CHC team.
Foong replied, repeatedly, that he did not agree.
Court resumes at 9:30 am tomorrow.
Is Foong Trying To Distance Himself?
An exchange between defense counsel Edwin Tong and witness Foong Daw Ching:
ET: Mr Foong, let me suggest to you that you have given evidence in the past four days as to your apparent lack of knowledge, only because you are keen to distance yourself from the advice that you have been giving to City Harvest.
FDC: I dis–
ET: On a whole variety of matters. Fair?
FDC: I disagreed.
ET: And that includes matters such as those relating to the bond, like whether or not it should be disclosed, whether it is a related party transaction, and the basis on which an impairment or valuation should be done. Do you agree?
FDC: I don’t agree, you know.
ET: It is because you are trying to distance yourself that you then suddenly, despite your fairly sterling CV and many years of experience, and many appointments, and accolades, that you suddenly become, at least based on the evidence of the last four days, someone who can descend to saying that he is not very good technically as an auditor, or that you don’t even like to read agreements. Can you explain that?