After 12 days, the prosecution ended its cross-examination of deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng this afternoon.
Throughout more than two weeks of cross-examination by the prosecution, Tan Ye Peng maintained his evidence on the stand: that the bonds were not a sham, that auditor Sim Guan Seng had given the team the impression that he wanted the unquoted bonds off the books, that Wahju Hanafi was in control of his own money, and that the board knew about the bond redemption plans, among many other points.
At the start of the day, the prosecution carried on challenging Tan’s evidence that the auditor Sim Guan Seng was agreeable to the plan to use advance rental to offset the amended Xtron bonds.
The prosecution produced an email in which finance manager Sharon Tan had summarized what transpired in a meeting she and John Lam had with Sim. In the meeting, Lam shared with Sim the plan to use advance rental to offset the Xtron bonds. The email recorded that Sim had said he would not interfere with how the church works but would just ensure the accounting entries were done properly. Tan said that based on this email, he concluded that Sim was agreeable to the plan. The prosecution, however, read the email in an entirely different light.
Tan pointed out that if Sim had raised issues with using advance rental, the team would not have gone ahead with the plan. This, he says, is consistent with the way they had always worked—after a plan had been told to the board, they would bring it up with the auditors; if the auditors were to raise any issues, they would not execute the plan. If the auditors were all right with the plan, they would go ahead.
When the prosecutor continued to press the issue, Tan said that it was not logical that the auditor would say he would not interfere with management decision if he felt that the what they were planning was not proper. It would have been that Sim thought what they were doing was acceptable, hence he said it was up to the board to decide.
Bringing Tan back to Sharon Tan’s email, the prosecution pointed out that Sharon Tan said Sim was told that it was Xtron’s intention to redeem the bonds. This, the prosecution said, was false representation to Sim. Tan replied that he was not at the meeting and did not know what Sim had been told exactly. He later added that before that meeting, Chew would have met with the Xtron directors and they would have approved the redemption of the Xtron bonds, so it was not wrong to say that it was Xtron’s intention to redeem the bonds.
The prosecution then put to Tan that it was not possible that, from the email, Tan could draw the conclusion that Sim had given his approval to use the advance rental to offset the Xtron bonds. Tan disagreed. At this point, Sharon Tan’s counsel Paul Seah also noted that during the prosecution’s case, this point had not been put to Sharon Tan or John Lam — both of whom were present at the meeting with Sim — when they took the stand.
In the home stretch of the prosecution’s cross-examination, it covered the 2010 period before the investigations into CHC began.
When CHC announced its purchase of stakes in the Suntec deal, it triggered off a flurry of speculation on the Internet that church money had been funneled out via Xtron to support the music career of Sun Ho.
However, given that there was a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) surrounding the Suntec deal, the CHC leadership found itself unable to quell rumors. A special audit was then arranged, in order to reassure members that the church management board did not profit from the Suntec deal, and that the church had not taken on an unreasonable level of risk, Tan explained to the court today.
Tan was responding to the allegation put forth by the prosecution that the real reason for initiating a special audit was to buy time for the accused to “fill the hole” in Xtron, in order to conceal from the authorities the real source of funding for the Crossover Project.
Toward the end of today, the prosecution put to Tan that he had conspired to cause the church to enter into sham bonds, the proceeds of which went toward the Crossover Project. Tan disagreed.
The prosecution also put forth that the bonds were never meant to create genuine obligations; this was why the accused were the ones making plans to ensure Xtron had enough funds to make repayments.
In addition, the prosecutor accused Tan of being involved in controlling Xtron, including directing the nomination of its directors to put in place parties who “rubber-stamped” decisions made by the accused.
Tan disagreed to all the prosecutor’s statements, reiterating the many explanations he had given throughout the past two weeks: that CHC and Xtron were working together to achieve a common purpose and objective; as such, the CHC leadership had to nominate credible, mature and spiritual members as directors because the church was going to put a lot of money into the company. The nominations were also made known to the church board in open discussion, added Tan.
Tan also disagreed with the prosecution’s position that Wahju Hanafi and his company Firna were merely conduits used to channel money out to the Crossover Project. Tan said that the Firna bond proceeds were Hanafi’s own money to use as he wished.
The prosecutor also posited that Tan conspired to create the appearance that the bonds were redeemed, through unauthorized use of church funds. Tan replied that it was not unauthorized as the redemption plan had been communicated to the church board.
The prosecutor further said the use of the church building fund to finance the Crossover Project was an unauthorised use. Tan disagreed, saying that it was an investment.
Court resumes tomorrow morning at 9.30am.
中文报道 – 城市丰收审讯：检方完成对陈一平的交叉质询