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SECRET CODE NAMES USED IN DISCUSSIONS

Property owned by Xtron should be seen as commercial and not linked to religion, said the finance manager of City Harvest Church (CHC) Sharon Tan.

To prevent people from drawing the link between CHC and these places, secrecy was of utmost importance, she added.

So CHC created secret code names and used them in nearly all the discussions among board members to refer to the properties they had wanted Xtron to buy.

Only CHC board members were privy to these names.

Suntec City was referred to as "Palm Oil", said deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng in an e-mail to Tan and the rest of the board.

Said the pastor: "Let's not reveal the name of the property and keep it within a very small group of people.

"We are in some serious negotiations now and it ain't over till the fat lady sings."

'CONTINGENCIES'

If the plan to secure Suntec City failed, there were "contingencies".

The land on which Capitol Building sits, at North Bridge Road, was known as "Crude Oil".

There were also plans for the new Singapore Sports Hub at Kallang.

Calling it the "building project", Tan said co-accused Chew Eng Han was the one who led the search for property that the church could use for its services.

By July 2008, CHC had attempted to secure 20 plots of land or property, she said.

They were allegedly in need of a new place quickly as the lease for Expo, where CHC had then held its services, was about to expire.

So when the plan to acquire Suntec City via Xtron "seemed like a real option", the board leapt at the opportunity.

Said Tan: "At the back of board's mind, (the need) to have another new venue was very urgent and important at the time.

"Everybody (on the board) was very excited and was looking forward to every board meeting for updates on Palm Oil."