This afternoon in court, Kong Hee recalled the Biblical direction of the Crossover Project that he had shared with executive members in 2002.
“Would you say, Pastor, that, looking back, what the Crossover achieved was worth the price?”
This was the questions senior counsel Andre Maniam, the lawyer for Serina Wee posed to Kong Hee today.
“On a big level, I have no doubt it was worth the price because of the impact and the achievement for the Kingdom of God,” Kong replied. “The thousands of souls that got saved, the number of churches that were impacted and started. But the price of putting through my church through this trial, through putting all my co-accused, my friends, through all these painful times, there are moments where I do a lot of soul-searching, your Honour, but I knew that we were not disobedient to the heavenly vision given by God to us.”
This afternoon, Maniam took Kong on a spiritual stroll through Scriptures and Biblical references that the team drew from when embarking and journeying through the Crossover Project, reminding the court that the Crossover mission was based on Mark 4:35, and that Kong had told his congregation at the extraordinary general meeting: “You’ve got to trust us a little bit more. Just because we don’t say it, it’s not because we don’t want to tell you. Sometimes because of the Great Commission or the bigger picture, we can’t tell you everything. It’s not because we’ve got anything to hide but because the time is not yet.” The court heard that this was about four months into the Crossover Project.
Maniam asked Kong if he recalled telling his members “that when Nehemiah wanted to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he didn’t tell everybody everything, he waited for the timing of the Lord.”
Kong agreed, saying that that meeting was meant to give the church members a Biblical basis for what the church was doing through the Crossover. “I gave them some Bible references that we must get out of the four walls of the church and, just like Jesus Christ, do not despise people who are different from us. Jesus was a friend of sinners, tax collectors, drunkard, prostitutes, and we—as Christians, we mustn’t feel like we are so holy and religious that we cannot get out of the four walls of the church and love the masses with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Senior counsel for Tan Ye Peng, N Sreenivasan completed the defense’s cross examination.
Sreenivasan established that Foong Daw Ching was the head elder of the Church of Singapore; the person Kong looked up to was the combined persona of Foong the accountant and auditor as well as Foong the head elder. Kong agreed.
He also established that Foong had never made a distinction between himself and the other partners who were supposed to be on CHC and Xtron’s accounts.
“In your dealings with Brother Foong, did he at any time tell you, ‘Listen, I’m not the engagement partner, I’m not the actual auditor, go and talk to somebody else’, whenever you turned to him for advice or information?” Sreenivasan asked. Kong’s reply was no.
The senior counsel then questioned Kong on his relationship with his client Tan. He asked Kong what would Tan do if he knew Kong was doing something wrong. Kong replied, “He would talk to me and he would be very much wanting to know, your Honour, why I would take certain course of action, and if I’m doing something wrong, even though he was my junior, Ye Peng would caution me and stop me.”
Prosecution Established Relationships Between Kong And Co-Accused
Deputy public prosecutor Christopher Ong started his cross-examination this afternoon by establishing Kong’s responsibility in the church, the amount of time he spent on the Crossover Project and the role of each defendants in the Project.
In response, Kong said that Tan’s role in the Crossover Project was to help Xtron liaise with the Asian producers and managers from 2002 to 2007; co-accused Serina Wee would support him in the accounts. When the project moved to US, Tan handled the administrative work, and Chew Eng Han sourced for finances, supported by Tan and Wee. While John Lam was on the board and Sharon Tan was the church accountant, they did not play any specific roles in the Crossover, Kong said.
Ong also questioned Kong at length on his relationship with each of the defendants.
Kong described Tan as a very fervent and reliable man, and a gifted Bible teacher. He agreed with the DPP that he was Tan’s mentor and Tan would look up to him as one.
In relation to Chew, he described him as a good member of the church who looked after the “businessman group”. In reply to the DPP’s question, Kong said that he was close to Chew as a pastor would be to his member. When Xtron needed money to continue with the US Crossover, Kong tasked Chew to source for the finances on behalf of the Xtron directors.
John Lam had been a member of Kong’s cell group back in the Anglican church they worshiped at, and Lam was a pioneer of City Harvest Church. He was the first accounts manager of the church; at that time, their relationship was closer, Kong said. Subsequently, after Lam left the employ of the church, they would only meet at board meetings and during weekend services. Kong said he knew Sharon Tan primarily as an employee of the church and he was also her pastor. Of Wee, Kong said he knew her to be as a fervent member of the church; they only became closer when they started to work together for the Crossover Project.
Court resumes tomorrow at 9.30am.
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