Chew sought to establish that auditors knew about the transactions surrounding the Advance Rental Licensing Agreement.
This morning co-accused Chew Eng Han brought Sharon Tan through several emails in a bid to establish that the auditors from Baker Tilly fully understood that the transactions surrounding the bonds needed to be discreet.
Chew recalled that from the beginning, it had been drummed into the team that transactions had to always be beneficial to City Harvest Church, but they had to be kept low-key.
Through email evidence, Chew showed that the team was trying to solve a valid, official audit issue–the valuation of unquoted bonds–that auditor Sim Guan Seng had. Sharon Tan affirmed that when John Lam had informed Sim of their plan to use advance rental to offset the bonds, Sim had responded that it was a better option.
It was established in court earlier this week that there were two purposes to the advance rental plan: firstly to enable Xtron to purchase a property for the church, and secondly to fully redeem the bonds.
Chew also sought to show that his motivation for proposing the advance rental option was for the purpose of Xtron to acquire a property for the church. Chew noted that emails between Sharon Tan, Serina Wee and Tan Ye Peng showed that the three were considering an alternative redemption plan involving the Riverwalk property and the Expo rental, to redeem the bonds off the church’s books in line with the auditor’s recommendation. According to Sharon Tan, Chew was not a party to discussions about this alternative redemption plan.
The court heard that the draft of the Advance Rental License Agreement indicated that while CHC had not found a premise, it was in the process of identifying and acquiring the appropriate place. This, together with the fact that Xtron needed the prepayment of a substantial amount to enable it to acquire a property formed the justification of CHC giving the advance rental to Xtron. An email from Chew to Drew and Napier lawyer Christina Ng also showed that Xtron could use the prepayment freely because it had already “paid the price” in the form of the five percent discount.
In another email, Chew had told Wee to tell the auditors “the whole story of why the advance rental was done and since Xtron has no immediate need for all the funds, it was parked into bonds” if they were to ask. Sharon Tan agreed that this showed that they were not trying to hide anything or defraud the auditors.
Chew also sought to establish that the search for property was “very serious”. Producing a series of emails, he pointed out that CHC had looked into a total of 27 sites over 45 months starting in 2005. In 2009, there were talks that Singapore Expo, the place where CHC was leasing for its weekend services, was closing down. This made the property search even more urgent than before.
Court resumed at 2.15pm.
中文报道 – 城市丰收审讯：周英汉延续交叉质询