Serina Wee refuted the prosecution’s stand that the ARLA was sham because it was “never intended” to be advance rental but a way to provide funds for the redemption of Xtron bonds. She explained that the redemption of the bonds was an interim use of ARLA.
Serina Wee,who ended her 10th day of cross-examination today, told the court the offset of Xtron bonds using the advance rental was only on an interim basis.
The plan for the early redemption of the Xtron and Firna bonds included using advance rental under the Advance Rental Licensing Agreement (ARLA) to offset the amended Xtron bonds. The court saw an email in which Wee told her staff that the amount of advance rental was based on an “arbitrary figure”. Wee had testified in her evidence-in-chief that she meant the figure was an estimate.
Today, the prosecution put to Wee that the reason the advance rental was calculated based on an arbitrary figure was because the ARLA was never intended to be advance rental, but just a means to provide funds for the redemption of Xtron bonds.
Wee disagreed. She clarified that the redemption of bonds was just an interim usage of the advance rental; the monies paid to Xtron were still meant to serve the purpose of rental.
The prosecution then suggested that when Wee prepared the advance rental schedule, she was simply keeping track of the amount spent on bond redemption so that she would know how much more advance rental was needed.
Again Wee disagreed. She explained that when she first prepared the schedule and sent it to church finance manager Sharon Tan, she understood that there were enough funds left after the offset of bonds for the bid and she was not expecting more advance rental to be given. However, Wee said that she knew that if the bid is successful, more advance rental would be given because that amount was not enough for the whole building project.
At one point, Wee confirmed with the prosecution that by “interim” she meant temporary.
But there was nothing temporary about the Xtron bond redemption, the prosecution pointed out. Wee explained that Xtron would still have the obligation to fulfill the ARLA from its other resources.
The prosecution put to Wee that the portion of the ARLA used to set off Xtron bonds was a sham because it was never intended to be rental.
Wee disagreed, stating that there were genuine legal obligations tied to the ARLA.
The prosecution went on to say in addition, the recording of those transactions as advance rental was false, done so to defraud the auditors.
Wee refuted this: the transactions were recorded according to their true nature and therefore there was no intention to defraud the auditors.
There was concern that continued online allegations would jeopardize CHC’s purchase of the Suntec property. That was why the ARLA was rescinded, explained Wee, in addition to the fact that Xtron was no longer required to participate in the building project as CHC was eventually able to purchase the Suntec property via another entity.
The deputy public prosecutor also revisited the personal guarantee by Wahju Hanafi today, along with the cross guarantees by Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han and Koh Siow Ngea.
Asked why Wee was the one who drafted it instead of engaging lawyers to do it—after all, it was a document involving liabilities amounting to tens of millions of dollars—Wee replied that it was a private agreement between Xtron and Hanafi.
The prosecution is expected to conclude its cross-examination of Serina Wee by Monday morning, May 18.