Foong Daw Ching’s memory was jogged this morning when defense counsel produced evidence from his personal diary and Tan Ye Peng’s Blackberry messages showing that conversations had taken place between the accused and the auditor.
It was a lively morning in court this morning when the senior counsel for Tan Ye Peng, N. Sreenivasan referred to witness Foong Daw Ching’s phone diaries, revealing that Foong had scheduled meetings with Tan, Serina Wee and Chew Eng Han.
This appeared to be a pivotal point in Foong’s evidence—the partner of Baker Tilly TFW LLP had, in his past five days on the stand, maintained that he didn’t read emails or documents sent by the accused.
Sreenivasan also showed the court that the CHC team had brought documents with them when they met with Foong.
This contradicted the statement Foong gave yesterday, when questioned by defense lawyer Edwin Tong yesterday, he said that meetings with the CHC team never involved documents and the advice he gave them was usually general.
However it was shown in court today that the accused, Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee, and Chew Eng Han had gone through great lengths to prepare a paper for Foong prior to their meeting with him. The paper, which spelled out the relationship between CHC, Xtron and AMAC with four questions clarifying issues relating to Xtron bonds, was sent to Foong via an email on July 21, 2008, the court saw.
When Foong was showed the email yesterday, he said he could not recall reading the attachment, and since the email had no accompanying message, he might not have opened the attachment. Sreenivasan questioned him again on the same email today and Foong insisted that if the document was important enough, Tan should have left a message to say that it was important.
That was when Sreenivasan produced a phone log retrieved from Tan Ye Peng’s Blackberry that revealed Foong had called Tan just five minutes before the email was sent, suggesting that the two had had a conversation about the contents of the attachment that resulted in Tan sending the document to Foong.
Sreenivasan also produced Blackberry messages and Blackberry PINs showing a series of events that led to the email. These correspondences showed that in 2008, Tan and Wee wanted to provide Foong with all the potential risk factors about CHC’s relationship with Xtron, before meeting Foong together with Chew Eng Han to discuss the relationship between CHC and Xtron.
The correspondences showed that CHC’s management board was worried about the church’s corporate governance and accounting matters and had hence requested a meeting with the auditor, Tiang Yii. However, a meeting could not be arranged.
Kong Hee then messaged Foong saying that Tan and Wee had been trying to see the auditors for two weeks, and asked if they could meet him. Foong then replied to say that he was overseas and would meet them when he is back the following Monday. It was for this meeting that the paper was prepared and Foong’s diary records showed that the meeting took place on July 21, 2008.
The defense counsel also questioned Foong on the advance rental CHC paid to Xtron. He agreed that, if the same auditor was on both sides of the transaction to redeem the CHC-Xtron bond subscription through the use of advance rental of S$21 million, that auditor would know that the advance rental was being used to redeem the bond. Foong agreed that the auditor would not be deceived by this entry that was recorded in the books.
Earlier this morning, Foong also admitted that he had advised members of City Harvest Church’s management that legally, CHC could buy bonds from a private limited company, and that there was no law against CHC buying into a private limited company, just that the Church would have to be careful. He recalled that he told CHC to ensure that the repayments for the bonds transactions were safe for the Church.
Court resumed at 2.15 pm.