No church funds could have been invested except with the approval by the church board, the court heard from Chew Eng Han’s cross-examination of Sharon Tan.
The church board was the highest decision-making body in City Harvest Church, said Sharon Tan during her cross-examination by co-accused Chew Eng Han and senior counsel for Tan Ye Peng, N Sreenivasan.
Documents presented by Chew, the church’s former investment manager and director of AMAC Capital Partners, sought to establish that AMAC did not have full discretion to invest the church’s funds.
Emails suggested that with regards to the quantum and drawdown amounts of the Xtron bonds, the decisions came from the church board and that no funds could have flowed out of the church unless authorization was given by the church board.
He also put forth that AMAC had no power to demand for additional funds to be invested into Xtron unless the board mandated, and approved the investment, to which Tan agreed.
In addition, Chew sought to show that as fund manager, he had put in governance controls in the form of bond certificates and letters of transfers to ensure that drawdown of the Xtron and Firna bond proceeds from the church’s custodian bank, Deutsche Bank, would not be abused or misused for unauthorized purposes. Notably, three CHC signatories were needed for each letter of transfer before the release of the church’s funds to either Xtron or Firna.
Sreenivasan also put forth email evidence showing that on the church’s part, efforts were made to name more CHC signatories, for the purpose of facilitating payments, in case some of the signatories were not around.
Sreenivasan’s point was that if there was indeed a “conspiracy” among the accused to misuse church funds, there would be no need to rope in additional signatories, who were not part of the alleged conspiracy, to sign for payments.
Tan also agreed with Sreenivasan that the purchase of the Riverwalk property was a well-considered decision made in the financial interest of the church.
Tan, who is charged for falsification of accounts, confirmed that she had made the relevant accounting entries after checking with audit manager Foong Ai Fang. When engagement partner Sim Guan Seng was on the stand, he also testified that those entries had been made accurately. Sim had agreed that it was fair for Tan to have the impression that he wanted the bonds off CHC’s books, pursuant to an audit meeting he had had in April 2009 with several of the co-accused, including Tan.
She reiterated that CHC’s board members had been made aware of the flow of funds as detailed in the bond redemption plan proposed by Chew during a board meeting in Jul 2009.
Asked by Chew if she stood to gain anything by the setting off of the Xtron bonds with the Advanced Rental License Agreement (ARLA), which the prosecution claims is a bogus investment, Tan said no; it was done merely to accede to Sim’s “dislike” of unquoted bonds, and not to conceal anything from the auditors.
At the end of the day, after Sreenivasan had taken her through a series of questions aimed to show that she had done everything according to procedure, that she had not conspired with anyone nor had the intent to cause the church loss, the senior counsel asked her if she understood why she was facing charges. Sharon Tan, whose turns 39 today, replied, “Your Honour, with the understanding that I had all this while, your Honour, honestly, I don’t know why have I been charged.”
Court resumes at 9:30am on Monday morning.
中文报道 – 城市丰收审讯：教会董事会乃城市丰收教会“最高决策”单位