Sharon Tan’s testimony this afternoon was consistent with what Chew Eng Han tried to put forth, mainly that the investments were in the best interests of the church at material time.
In his cross-examination of Sharon Tan this afternoon, co-defendant and AMAC director Chew Eng Han sought to challenge the prosecution’s allegation that his company AMAC Capital Partners was just a vehicle to facilitate the unauthorized channeling of the church’s funds.
The court saw that some Special Opportunity Fund (SOF) investments made into AMAC yielded interest for the church. The SOF were a series of short term, capital-guaranteed investments that AMAC offered the church.
Audit engagement partner Sim Guan Seng had asked for a detailed breakdown of what SOF was investing in, which Chew resisted, pointing out that big funds like APEX did not have to reveal what they made investments into. He then made provisions for an independent valuation to be done on the SOF as he deemed that was what Sim was looking for.
Chew also put forth that having AMAC as the administrator of the $11.4m investment into Ultimate Assets, which was one of the SOF investments, created a “buffer”, or a layer of protection for the church. In the event that Ultimate Assets and Firna collapse, AMAC would be legally obligated to repay the church. Sharon Tan conceded to his point.
It was seen in court that there was an understanding among the church board members that AMAC had been selected as the church’s fund manager instead of bigger firms such as UBS, DBS or Goldman Sachs because of a relationship of “trust” between CHC and AMAC. It was the same reason why CHC selected Baker Tilly and Foong Daw Ching as its audit firm instead of one of the Big Four audit companies.
The court also saw from emails presented in court that Foong had influence over the church’s engagement partner at the time, Sim Guan Seng, contrary to what both auditors testified on the stand. One email showed that after Sim had expressed his approval to several of the accused about a proposal to redeem the church’s bonds, co-accused Tan Ye Peng had requested for Foong’s opinion to be sought for “final clearance.”
Chew also sought to clarify his involvement in the incident where Sharon Tan backdated minutes of a CHC investment committee meeting to avoid having to declare related party transactions between Xtron and CHC. Earlier this week, the finance manager had told the court she wanted to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest because one of the board members present at the meeting, Koh Siow Ngea, had been appointed a director of Xtron just a few days prior.
Email evidence showed that Chew had told Tan it was all right that Koh was wearing two hats at the meeting—what was important was that he did not partake in the church board resolution for the matter being discussed, namely the purchase of the Riverwalk property at that time.
Court resumes at 9:30am tomorrow.
中文报道 – 城市丰收审讯：交叉质询强调投资真实性