Prosecution commences examination-in-chief of Sim Guan Seng, former engagement partner of CHC and Xtron’s audits.
His name came up as early as the first tranche of the City Harvest Church trial. Late this afternoon, Baker Tilly’s managing partner Sim Guan Seng finally took the stand as the prosecution’s 12th witness.
Sim’s testimony is considered key evidence as he had been the engagement partner in charge of CHC and Xtron’s accounts when the Xtron and Firna bonds as well as several other related transactions were signed off.
Sim had taken over the accounts in Jan 2008 from former engagement partner Tiang Yii, who was on the stand earlier this week.
The examination-in-chief was conducted by deputy public prosecutor Christopher Ong, who laid the groundwork by asking Sim about audit processes as well as the roles and responsibilities of auditors.
Sim’s answers generally echoed those of Tiang in that auditors do not have the expertise to verify the authenticity of documents provided by clients, although they do maintain a level of professional scepticism in the course of conducting audit field work.
He also said that it was not the job of auditors to advice clients on the legality and the commercial merits of past transactions.
However, he added that auditors have to exercise judgement and enquire with clients if they came across transactions that do not make sense commercially.
Earlier, in the continuation of his cross-examination by senior counsel for Chew Eng Han, Michael Khoo after lunch, prosecution witness and CHC trustee Tan Yew Meng expressed his full support for the Crossover Project.
Presented a hypothetical scenario by Khoo in which the S$24 million spent on the Crossover Project was “lost”, but had resulted in 140,000 people accepting Jesus Christ, Tan told the court he would not have objected.
Tan said that for “all the money we spent so far, even if one person in my terms come to know God, then I think that is worth the while already.”
Court resumes at 9:30am next Monday.