Tan Ye Peng tells the court that he is happy the church found its home, but sad that it lost an opportunity to do global missions when the Crossover Project ended abruptly.
At the end of his examination-in-chief today, Tan Ye Peng told the court that he had given 10 years of his life to the Crossover Project and City Harvest Church’s property search. Tan said that even though the past five years had been very tough for him, he was happy that CHC fulfilled its vision of finding its own property.
He told the court that every time he thinks of the church enjoying its premises at Suntec Convention Centre every weekend, he was glad that the vision and the goal that he had been carrying for so many years came to pass.
The only thing he felt sad about, the court heard, was that the other objective of the church was not met—the Crossover album was not launched because of the investigation, and the church did not launch its global missions. Those were the things he gave a decade of his life to, to do the work of God.
Tan echoed his fellow defendants when he said this morning that he would never do anything that will cause loss to the church, or harm the church. This is the church that he grew up in, he said, and his whole family including his mother, his wife’s parents, his children and his other relatives are all in CHC because he had brought them.
This morning, Tan also shed some light on the special opportunity fund—two tranches of the SOF are material to the charges. He told the court that as early as March 2009, Chew Eng Han had already proposed to the board to invest into the SOF. Chew had told the board that these investments were capital guaranteed and safe investments with interest. Tan confirmed with his lawyer, senior counsel N Sreenivasan that Chew and his fund management company AMAC made all the decisions as to how and where the SOF was invested in, and all the monies invested at the material time had come back with interest.
Subsequently, when co-defendant John Lam could not confirm that his company Pacific Radiance could extend a loan to redeem the Firna bonds, Chew suggested using monies from the SOF.
Sreenivasan asked Tan why he and Chew did not go back to the board to tell them there was a change of plans. Tan responded that this was not the first time CHC had invested in the SOF; it was a “normal” thing to do. Tan also said that Sharon Tan, the accountant would usually send an email to the board to get approval before Chew executed the transaction, but Tan had not followed up with her explicitly for the two tranches in question.
Addressing the seventh to 10th charges which relate to an alleged conspiracy to make false entries in the accounts of CHC, Sreenivasan asked Tan if he had discussed with anyone on how the accounting entries should be recorded in the books of CHC. Tan said he had not; he confirmed that Sharon Tan was the person responsible for doing book entries and she had never asked him for any guidance on accounting. Tan added that this was because he was not an accounts-trained person and had failed accounts when he was in University Year 1.
The rest of the day saw the counsels for John Lam and Kong Hee cross-examining Tan.
Senior counsel Kenneth Tan took Tan through the minutes of the 8 March 2008 board meeting and the investment committee’s portfolio of investments dated 2 Feb 2008. The portfolio showed that $10m had been invested in Xtron bonds. Further to this, the minutes of the Investment committee meeting of 5 August 2008 showed that the CHC board thought it was good for the church to purchase Firna bonds.
Defense counsel Aaron Lee, representing CHC’s senior pastor Kong Hee, queried Tan on the relationship Kong had with the church’s former counsel, Jimmy Yim.
The court saw a 2006 email in which Kong praised Yim for giving the church “top class services”, and Kong told the lawyer he wanted to be a good steward of the church’s money.
Tan confirmed the confidence the team had had in Yim, saying that they felt the church improved in its corporate governance under Yim’s advice.
When asked about how involved Kong was with the bonds, Tan told the court that Kong did not get involved with the technicalities of the bonds, although he was aware of the schedule.
What Kong was concerned about, consistently, was that the team had checked and received approval from the professionals—the lawyers and auditors—when it came to important matter, such as the “four concerns” email.
Lee showed evidence that Kong had sent three Blackberry messages in a single day to chase for an update on that email.
Tan told the court that the senior pastor was relentless when it came to getting lawyers and auditors to respond. Kong would not move on without their approval.
Cross-examination of Tan Ye Peng by the defense team continues tomorrow morning at 9.30am.
Tan Ye Peng’s Closing Speech In His Examination-in-Chief
I just want to say that when the church has done all these investments, the monies have all come back and the monies have been used for Suntec. Every single cent is accounted for, plus interest. And … I know that I’ve gone through this five years, it’s very tough on me, but every time I think that the church is now using Suntec, enjoying the premises every weekend, your Honour, I feel that that is the vision, the goal that I have carried for so many years, I’m just glad that it came to pass.
The only sad thing is the album couldn’t be launched, because of the investigation. If it was launched in August 2010, then the church would have gone into global missions, which is the other objective that we have, and that would be what I have given my life during that ten years for, your Honour, to do the work of God.
I’m an ordinary man, but, your Honour, I’m just a pastor. I just want to serve God, I just want to do the will of God, just want to be faithful to the vision that God has given to us, and I know that this whole investigation, this trial has another purpose, maybe, for my life. But, your Honour, I just want to say that in all honesty, I will never do anything that will cause loss to the church, or harm the church. This is the church that I grew up in. My whole family is in this church. My mother, my wife’s parents, my children, my other relatives — they’re all in church. I brought them to church. And this is my spiritual family, your Honour.
中文报道 – 城市丰收审讯：陈对过去五年感到五谷杂陈