He answered hypothetical questions that had been posed to him during the examination-in-chief. Now prosecution witness Sim Guan Seng says he could not form conclusion unless he saw full set of documents.
The defense team in the City Harvest Church trial began cross-examination this morning with counsel for Kong Hee, Edwin Tong, attempting to dismantle the prosecution’s examination-in-chief of Sim Guan Seng over the last two days.
Prosecution witness Sim agreed with Tong that his evidence given during examination-in-chief was not from personal knowledge but based on premises put to him by the prosecution. He also confirmed he did so without seeing the context such as prevailing emails or circumstances.
Sim also agreed with Tong that given the isolated documents presented to him by the prosecution, he was unable to form any conclusions from what he saw during the examination-in-chief.
Over the course of the prosecution’s examination-in-chief, deputy public prosecutor Christopher Ong showed Sim several documents and emails that he had not seen before. Sim was then asked by the DPP for his views and asked what would he have done differently in terms of his audit decisions if he had encountered these information in the course of the audit.
Tong brought up one example of such a document: the minutes of meeting that Sim had early opined was backdated. Sim agreed with Tong that he did not know the context nor the circumstances under which the minutes of the meeting took place. Sim confirmed that in that instance, as well as other evidence such as Xtron’s ability to redeem the bonds, his answers to Ong were based only on what he was shown. He agreed with Tong that he could not form any conclusion unless he saw full set of document and sought explanation from those mentioned in the email.
When questioned by Tong about Foong Daw Ching’s testimony that he had called for a “post-mortem” in Baker Tilly after the Commercial Affairs Department began investigations into CHC, Sim denied Foong’s version of events that there was such an event. He added that, as managing partner, he would have been the person convening it. However, when pressed if he would therefore say that Foong was lying on oath, Sim declined to comment.
He later revised his statement to say that there was some form of discussion.
The court heard that Sim has extensive experience as an auditor of several companies over the past 20 years. He is also a director of several companies and sits on the audit committee of a charitable fund. For the continuity of information, the engagement partner over an audit would pass on relevant and important information regarding the audit to the next engagement partner taking over. The latter would be informed of any concerns that arise over the course of the previous financial year’s audit.
Sim confirmed that the sharing of information would be a two-way one between the previous engagement partner and the current engagement partner. Before Sim, Tiang Yii had been the engagement partner for CHC’s audit for the January 2006 to June 2007 and for Xtron Productions for the financial year 2006/2007. Sim told the court that it was Tiang who had informed him that he was taking over from her as engagement partner for CHC’s audit in 2008; it was also Tiang who informed him of all the audit matters involving CHC.
Thereafter, Sim had left the audit planning to Foong Ai Fang, the audit manager. Sim also told the court that the church’s building fund could be used for investments. He added that the issue was whether the transactions qualified as investments. He also confirmed that the invested amounts from the CHC-Xtron and CHC-Firna bonds had been returned to CHC with interest.
Court resumed at 2.30pm.