The prosecution cross-examines former fund manager Chew Eng Han on matters regarding the Roland Poon incident and the relationship between CHC and Xtron.
Addressing the 10 charges against Chew Eng Han, Serina Wee and his client Tan Ye Peng, senior counsel N Sreenivasan established this morning that the defendants had no intention for the church to lose money through the transactions that are the center of the ongoing trial.
The first three charges allege that the defendants conspired to commit criminal breach of trust with the intention to cause City Harvest Church wrongful loss when they subscribed to the Xtron and Firna bonds, while the second set of charges deal with the falsification of accounts to create the appearance of the redemption of bonds through the Advance Rental Licensing Agreement and the two tranches of the Special Opportunities Fund.
Sreenivasan noted in court this morning that the prosecution’s case is that it did not matter whether the defendants had gained from it but that there was intention to cause wrongful loss. It is therefore important to address where the wrongful loss is, said the senior counsel.
Addressing the two tranches of Special Opportunities Fund, the former fund manager agreed that AMAC had obligations to repay CHC with interest for these investments. Nobody intended for the monies to be lost, said Chew.
Similarly, the advance rental that CHC gave to Xtron was governed by the Advance Rental Licensing Agreement drafted by lawyer Christina Ng, Sreenivasan said. Chew agreed that if the church were to suffer loss and disadvantage under the agreement, Ng would have flagged it.
When it comes to the CBT charges, the prosecution has alleged that using the church’s building fund to fund the Crossover Project was a conspiracy to misuse church funds. Chew agreed with Sreenivasan that there was no conspiracy — even if the church were to fund the Crossover Project directly, it would be fine because the Project was meant to be profitable and was an investment to the church. Chew told the court that lawyer Christina Ng was the person who initiated the amendment to CHC’s constitution so that the building fund could be used for investment purposes like the Crossover Project. The monies were meant to go back to the church—there was no intention to cause wrongful loss.
Moving on to the next set of charges that deal with the falsification of accounts, Sreenivasan questioned Chew as to whether the redemption of Firna bonds was a matter of fact, to which Chew replied yes. He went on to explain that CHC no longer had rights to the bonds.
Under Sreenivasan’s questioning, Chew said that there were no other ways to record those entries that the prosecution charged as false. If they were not recorded, CHC’s accounts would never be closed, he said. He also agreed with the defense counsel that even if the bonds were sham, the transactions would still be given the same treatment.
Serina Wee’s lawyer, senior counsel Andre Maniam also questioned Chew on the use of the building fund for the Xtron bonds. After establishing that CHC’s Investment Policy allowed the building fund to be used to invest in the Xtron bonds, Maniam pointed out that the bond proceeds clause of the Xtron bond agreement dictated that the proceeds had to be used for the purpose of the Crossover Project. It was common practice for the lender to specify the purposed of the loan, Chew confirmed. This was to protect the lender’s interest.
Yet, the prosecution alleges that this was an unauthorized use of building fund monies, noted Maniam. Chew replied that if the proceeds were used otherwise, that would constitute unauthorized use, because the board had approved the Xtron bonds on the premise that the proceeds go to the Crossover Project.
In the afternoon, the prosecution expended much effort trying to establish that Chew, along with several others, tried to “engineer things” to cover up the Roland Poon allegations about church money being used to fund the Crossover Project.
The prosecution suggested to Chew that he was distancing himself from the concealment of truth regarding the channeling of building fund monies to cover the expenses of the Crossover Project.
Chew claimed that in the wake of those allegations, he was told to tell Poon that no church funds had been used. According to him, the knowledge that businessman Wahju Hanafi intended for his money to be re-directed from the building fund to the Crossover Project was good enough a basis for that claim to be made.
The prosecution also interrogated Chew about the extent of what auditor Foong Daw Ching knew, with regards to the nature and relationship between CHC and Xtron.
Chew claimed that even Foong himself was not able to give a definite stance as to whether CHC and Xtron could be considered related companies.
The prosecution alleged that Chew and the other co-accused sought to deceive Foong by not informing him that Xtron was a special purpose vehicle set up to manage Sun Ho’s career. Chew disagreed. He said that till today, “none” of the counsel had been able to come up with a clear answer regarding the degree of control between CHC and Xtron, and by extension, the issue of related parties.
He added that CHC did not hold shares in Xtron, and thus could not have been one and the same.
Cross-examination of Chew Eng Han continues tomorrow at 9.30am.
中文报道 – 城市丰收审讯：周表示“CHC不持有思创股权”