Tan Ye Peng maintains that the church board, along with its fund manager Chew Eng Han, were responsible for ensuring the legitimacy of the bonds.
Today in court, the prosecution continued its attempt to show how Xtron was under the control of City Harvest Church’s senior and deputy senior pastor, Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng.
Among other things, the prosecution alleged that Tan and Serina Wee were crafting Xtron board meeting minutes for four meetings from 2007 to 2008, to cover up the fact that it was Kong and Tan who were making decisions for Xtron. The prosecution had produced emails where Wee attached sets of Xtron minutes for Tan’s input. The prosecution asked Tan over and over again why he was asked by Wee to give his input when he was not present in the Xtron board meeting.
Tan maintained that in his mind, Wee asked him because he was the one managing the Crossover Project in Taiwan. The prosecutor then accused him of being evasive because he was “trying hard” not to admit that he and Wee deliberated the contents of the board minutes. Tan disagreed with her accusation.
The DPP next showed the court an email in which Chew Eng Han told Kong that he and Tan had discussed the merits of purchasing the Riverwalk unit and asked if they should go for the purchase. The email showed Chew replying that he would start negotiations with the seller after Kong had said to go ahead.
Tan explained that this followed the process the team exercised: Kong, Chew and he did the planning and discussion. After discussion, Chew would negotiate with the sellers. Then the idea was brought up to the Xtron director Choong Kar Weng. In this case, Choong expressed that he was not comfortable with using advance rental from CHC to fund Riverwalk, so the team looked for alternatives.
Tan added that he wanted the plans to be more concrete when it was presented to the Xtron directors so that the directors could decide for themselves whether the plan was doable. He reiterated that he was not in control of Xtron.
The prosecution put to Tan that Xtron was set up as CHC’s special purpose vehicle to manage the Crossover Project, and that Tan and Kong Hee had handpicked Xtron’s directors, knowing that they would comply with what the team planned to do.
Tan agreed with the role of Xtron as a special purpose vehicle. But with regards to the selection of Xtron directors, Tan refuted the prosecution’s put, explaining once again that these directors had been picked because they were spiritually mature members of the church and shared the vision for the Crossover.
The prosecution also showed emails in which Serina Wee and Tan had corresponded about separating the accounting services, organizational structure and management between Xtron and CHC. The prosecutor alleged that Tan was involved in concealing the related party status between CHC and Xtron from the auditors. Tan explained that since Xtron’s purpose was not only to manage the Crossover Project but also the church’s building project, it was better for staff like Serina Wee not to be in CHC and doing Xtron’s accounts at the same time.
Tan said that what the prosecution insisted were attempts to cover up the relationship between CHC and Xtron were really efforts to establish better corporate governance.
Tan told the court that this had happened during a transitional “hand-holding” period when Xtron staff were moving out of the church office to become a private limited company. While the staff were technically strong, they had yet to find the right management team, and so church staff member Suraj, for example, aided in administrative duties for the time being.
While there seemed to be overlaps during this transitional period, Tan said, efforts were being made by him, Wee and others to establish better governance. It was not an effort at concealment, he said.
When the prosecution tried to get Tan to single out the person responsible for making sure the bonds that CHC entered into were legitimate and above board, Tan testified that the church board bore a collective responsibility to do so, along with its fund manager Chew Eng Han.
Court resumes Monday, April 6 at 9.30am.
中文报道 – 城市丰收审讯：陈表示，董事集体决定确保债券合法