Co-accused confronts Kong Hee in court: 'Pastor, you're a liar'
You lied. You used me. You shortchanged the faith of church members.
Chew Eng Han's explosive accusations were made bluntly and pointedly at the pastor he followed for two decades.
Facing the fire on the stand yesterday was City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee.
Chew also told the court that when he was CHC's fund manager, he created "well-structured" and legal bond agreements for the church.
But he admitted they became "sham bonds" from the way they were used.
Chew also claimed that singer Sun Ho's successful music career was a farce and fooled many, including himself, into believing in CHC's Crossover Project.
These damning allegations by an accused come after the prosecution's case that Kong, Chew and four other CHC leaders allegedly misused more than $50 million of church money through sham bonds.
Some of this money was allegedly used to fund the music career of singer-pastor Sun Ho through two companies - music production firm Xtron and glass manufacturer Firna.
Yesterday, Chew continued his cross-examination of co-accused Kong, the second accused to take the stand after former board member John Lam.
Chew, who quit the church last year, went for the jugular from the start. He fired one allegation after another at his former pastor.
Within just five minutes into the hearing, Chew accused Kong of lying to the Commercial Affairs Department.
Chew is representing himself after discharging his lawyer in May.
Chew also asserted that the music success of Ho was "not real".
For example, he said she did not sing at the 2007 Special Olympics in Shanghai contrary to claims on the Crossover Project's website.
While Kong admitted Ho did not attend the sporting event, he said: "I have no reason to doubt that the song that she recorded was a song used in the Special Olympics for 2007."
Chew also presented an e-mail to the court showing that various church members, including Ho herself, had spent about $30,000 on Ho's singles using iTunes giftcards.
STAMPS WERE 'PAID FOR'
Kong replied that it was part of the marketing strategy to "create promotion and publicity on cyberspace", and that her placement on the US Billboard dance charts was not based on sales.
He added the team was at the mall in the US when they used Ho's "Visa US card" to buy some iTunes giftcards.
Chew also said that a series of stamps given by various associations in China to Ho, supposedly the first foreign celebrity to receive such an honour, were a scam.
He then sought to prove that the "First Day Cover" stamps were "nothing more than personalised stamps that anybody could go to the post office to pay for".
Kong disagreed and maintained that the stamps, along with a plaque, were authentic and given to Ho after she had done humanitarian work in China.
Said Chew: "You have shortchanged the faith of the people in City Harvest Church by telling them that Sun had hit number one on her own merits when you knew in the background money was being used to push her up."
He also said the real reason why Ho's English album was repeatedly delayed was because Kong and Ho secretly knew that her success was not real.
Kong said he "absolutely disagreed".
Chew was not done.
"You consciously kept all relevant information away from me so that you could continue to use me to help you to... arrange the necessary financing," he said.
He also told Kong: "I've been accused of being in a conspiracy with you... so that money can be channelled to fund your wife's career."
Chew maintained that he had created a set of proper, legally-documented bonds for the church to invest in.
"But it's what happened after the bond...was drawn down, how the funds were being applied that... tainted the whole bond and made it a sham bond."
Chew also told the court that he and his wife had donated and given his tithes to a multi-purpose account (MPA) that was used to pay for the Crossover Project.
Yet when Kong presented the figures at a meeting with the MPA donors, regarded as his greatest supporters, he did not include Ho's royalties and bonuses, Chew said.
The donors were told the account was in deficit and asked to contribute more, he said.
"The problem is... there was never actually a deficit in the first place. (It) came about after you... had stripped out (Ho's) royalties and balances and bonuses," said Chew.
"One of the reasons why I left your church is because when I look at this, I realise that you deceived... the people who are closest to you."
Kong: I wanted to take all responsibility
City Harvest Church (CHC) founder Kong Hee was prepared to take the rap for his fellow accused, or so he said.
The night before the second round of questioning by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Kong said he prepared a letter containing his thoughts, after he was advised by a lawyer to shoulder all responsibility.
But he never did that on the day of questioning by the CAD.
Instead, he blamed me, said co-accused and former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han in court yesterday.
Chew said he found it "very hard to believe" that days after the CAD raid, despite Kong being in fear, he was "willing to take the rap for everybody".
He added: "Somehow the letter (containing Kong's thoughts) didn't get to CAD, and (in) the subsequent interviews with the CAD, you started to point the finger at me."
CHECKED FOR CBT
Chew went on to say that Kong had asked for a board member to look through all of the church's transactions a few days before the May 2010raid by CAD officers.
And it was specifically to check if Kong had committed criminal breach of trust, of which he is now facing three counts, said Chew.
Kong replied that he just wanted to make sure that everything the church had done was legal.
Kong also said that he was never in fear.
"I was in shock, I was worried, first for my family. I was worried for my church.
"But no, I was not in fear. I knew that God was in control, and I just trusted Him," he said.
He added that the ongoing investigations kept his wife, singer-pastor Sun Ho, in Singapore.
Chew then asked why Ho did not apply for a permit to travel back to the United States to complete preparations for her English album.
Said Kong: "Perhaps Mr Chew is emotionally a Superman who is able to juggle all the stress and still go on with life like nothing has changed.
"But for Sun, and I believe even for the church, it's not appropriate for her to go back... they wanted her to be around. And she says she couldn't travel, because she wanted to be with me."
ABOUT THE CASE
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and five others are on trial for allegedly misusing church funds through sham bonds.
This includes $24 million to fund the music career of Kong's wife Sun Ho and another $26.6 million to cover up the first amount.
They are said to have done this through music production firm Xtron and glass manufacturer Firna, which are run by long-time supporters of the megachurch.
Kong, former board member John Lam, finance manager Sharon Tan, ex-investment manager Chew Eng Han, deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng and former finance manager Serina Wee, face varying charges of criminal breach of trust and/or falsifying accounts.
Prosecutors had sought to show how Xtron and Firna directors had simply done the bidding of the accused.
The defence has argued that the transactions were legitimate, with the accused acting "in good faith" on the advice of lawyers and auditors.