While the prosecution alleged that the auditor was not “explicitly told” that Xtron was a special purpose vehicle, defendant Tan Ye Peng maintained that Foong Daw Ching had knowledge of the dual purpose of investments into Xtron and Firna.
Former fund manager Chew Eng Han, during his time on the stand, had said that Xtron was set up as a special purpose vehicle to manage the Crossover Project for City Harvest Church. This morning, the prosecution questioned Tan Ye Peng on who was aware of this.
Tan told the court that in a meeting in 2003, auditor Foong Daw Ching was told that Xtron was managing Sun Ho and that the Crossover Project was a church mission. While he said that the team did not explicitly tell Foong that Xtron was a special purpose vehicle, Tan said Foong would know that Xtron had been set up to manage Ho. After all, over the course of the trial it had been heard that Foong was aware of the impact of the Roland Poon incident and the need for discretion when it came to the Crossover Project.
Tan also told the court today that CHC’s board members would also be aware that Xtron was set up to manage Ho. This was not told to the executive members of the church.
The prosecution also attempted to establish that the “dual purpose” of the Xtron and Firna bonds was not told to the auditors, the church board and the executive members. Tan agreed with the prosecution that the bonds served both the purpose of maximising returns for the investment of surplus building fund monies, as well as financing the Crossover Project. The deputy senior pastor told the court that Foong, the CHC board and the engagement partner for the CHC account that that time, Tiang Yii, knew about the dual purpose of the Xtron bonds. However, for the Firna bonds, only Foong and the board members knew.
In his defence, Tan said that in a meeting with Foong on Jun 25, 2007, he and Chew Eng Han had told Foong that CHC would invest into Xtron and Xtron would in turn fund the Crossover Project. Tan also said that the engagement partner for CHC at that point, Tiang Yii would also have been able to see that the money that came from CHC’s investment went to the Crossover Project since Baker Tilly audited both the CHC and Xtron accounts. As for the dual purpose of the Firna bonds, Tan explained that to Foong in another meeting in August 2008.
In the afternoon, the prosecution questioned Tan about an initial plan that Chew had come up with to give advance rental to Xtron to provide funds for the Crossover Project. An email showed Chew, Tan and Serina Wee discussing the plan. Tan told the court that there was already an existing lease agreement between CHC and Xtron; advancing the rental to Xtron would give CHC a discount and allow Xtron to fund the Crossover. It was a win-win situation and the plan was approved by the board.
Court resumes at 9.30am tomorrow.
中文报道 – CHC审讯：陈：董事会与审计师皆获知思创双重目的