Proposals suggested by accused parties to pay more income to Xtron were approved by the church board, Serina Wee testified today.
Today at the City Harvest trial, the prosecution continued attempting to make a case of selective disclosure on former finance manager Serina Wee and her co-defendants. Wee spent the day repeating much of her previous explanations and objections, which echoed the evidence of the other accused.
The deputy public prosecutor first questioned Wee on the events leading up to the first Xtron bonds.
At the end of 2006, when the cost of the English music album started to escalate, there was a need for the defendants to source for funds for the Crossover Project. Chew Eng Han went to Hong Kong to obtain a loan from Citic Ka Wah Bank. He then suggested to Wee that the church should place a fixed deposit in the bank to “build relationship”. When the bank loan fell through, Tan Ye Peng asked if it was possible to give Xtron a loan from the building fund. The court also saw in an email that part of the advance rental City Harvest Church gave to Xtron was used to pay for the music album.
Wee told the court that the church board knew about all these actions and proposals, and board members had given their approval. She explained that almost all the board members were donors to Xtron so they knew that Sun Ho was doing an album in US and that Xtron needed funds for the project. She added that they were aware of the advance rental given to Xtron to fund the music album, and of Chew going to Hong Kong to try to secure a loan.
During the prosecution’s cross-examination of Wee, it was put to her that she and her co-accused were finding ways to transfer funds from the building fund to Xtron but gave the board a different rationale for the transfer.
The prosecution also brought out emails in which Wee proposed that the price of Sun Ho’s second Mandarin album be marked up. The DPP pointed out that according to the emails, the reason given to auditor Foong Daw Ching was to cover publicity costs.
Wee testified that the repaying of loans would be very transparent when the auditors looked at Xtron’s accounts.
The prosecution also stated that the Xtron directors were not told about the 200,000 album sales projection which would not have yielded enough income to cover the repayment of the first Xtron bonds. The court has heard throughout the testimonies of the other co-defendants that this was a scenario planning exercise.
Wee explained that the Xtron directors did not see this because it was not the most updated projection.
The prosecution put forth that the terms of the first Xtron bond had simply been decided by Wee and her other co-accused. Wee disagreed, saying that at the end of the day it was Chew Eng Han’s investment firm AMAC and Xtron directors who agreed on the terms of the bond.
Cross examination continues tomorrow at 9.30am.