What was the conspiracy he is being charged with? Defendant John Lam admitted he wasn’t sure. He also agreed with Senior Counsel N Sreenivasan that had the 2010 investigations not occurred, the Xtron bonds would have been paid back in the normal course of events.
Bringing the attention of the court to the big picture, Senior Counsel N Sreenivasan, who acts for defendant Tan Ye Peng, centered his line of questioning on the subject of faith when he conducted his cross-examination of John Lam this afternoon.
Asked if it was his belief that the monies from the sales of Sun Ho’s US album would have been paid back to Xtron in the normal course of events—had the 2010 investigations not occurred—Lam replied yes, he did believe so.
The basis for his belief? There were many factors, he replied, not least of all, his faith.
There was the fact that the album production was in progress; in fact, the US album was about to be launched when the investigations began, which meant that sales would have started coming in. Then there was the Riverwalk property that was an asset that could be liquidated, and also, Firna, which the church bought bonds into, was still a profitable company, and Wahju Hanafi was “still around”, in the event the Crossover failed and Hanafi’s personal guarantee had to be exercised.
Sreenivasan then asked Lam about the church’s purchase of shares in Suntec City, who confirmed that CHC moved into its new worship premises in 2011, despite all the adverse publicity surrounding the case over the past few years. Lam also agreed with Sreenivasan’s point that CHC’s shares in Suntec Singapore have more than paid for themselves given its current valuation.
At this point, deputy public prosecutor Mavis Chionh told the court she did not understand the relevance of Suntec to the case.
Sreenivasan explained that the church doubled its investment in Suntec Singapore at a time of risk and uncertainty was “something most people will not do.” He added that the church’s plan for its pastor’s wife to be a star in the US was, likewise, “something most people will not do.”
Such unconventional efforts could either be an indication of the church leaders’ thought process and their approach to things, said the senior counsel, or a dishonest act altogether.
Pointing out that the leadership and members of the church had always thought big and always taken that shot, buoyed by whatever beliefs they had, the Crossover Project was, therefore, in line with that sort of mindset and therefore relevant.
Sreenivasan proceed to take Lam through the substance of his charges. Contrary to the prosecution’s charge that his client, Tan, Kong Hee and Lam himself had dominion over the church’s property, Lam also agreed with Sreenivasan that the three of them could not decide on matters pertaining to the church’s property without the other board members’ support.
Lam reiterated that he never had the intention to cause wrongful loss to the the church, and that he did not use the church’s building fund in an unauthorised manner.
Sreenivasan posed to him: “As of this point in time, do you know exactly what conspiracy you are being accused of?”
Lam replied, “Not exactly.”
Earlier, in rounding off his cross-examination of Lam, Chew Eng Han stated that his own assessment of viability of the Crossover Project was only as good as the figures that were given to him by Serina Wee and Kong Hee.
He also sought to establish that contrary to Lam’s evidence, AMAC Capital Partners, Chew’s fund management firm, did not have the discretion to buy up $13m of Xtron bonds and $11m of Firna bonds respectively. Lam replied that he did not know enough about the transaction to comment.
Senior counsel Andre Maniam posed a few questions regarding his client Serina Wee’s absence from investment committee and board meetings following her resignation from her the CHC Board in July 2007—the same Extraordinary General Meeting that Chew resigned from the Board.
Chionh commenced with her cross-examination of Lam late this afternoon, taking the court through his professional responsibilities as a chief financial officer, as well as his familiarity with the Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) and the Singapore Standards of Accounting (SSA).
In particular, she questioned Lam about the extent of his audit process knowledge—he pointed out that he was an accountant, not an auditor—his understanding of internal financial controls and corporate governance, before court adjourned for the day.
Court resumes tomorrow at 9:30am.
中文报道 – CHC审讯：林“不明确”知道他被控所犯阴谋为何