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Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 8:05:29 AM
NOT every investment made by charities such as churches need to yield profit. Sometimes these investments may be to further social objectives.
Defence lawyers for the six accused City Harvest leaders said this in court during an on-going trial.
City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and five of his deputies are accused of criminal breach of trust.
They are alleged to have funnelled S$24mil (RM60.8mil) meant for the church’s new building into sham bond investments in church-linked firms Firna and Xtron Productions.
Prosecutors said City Harvest accounts were then falsified to the tune of S$26.6mil (RM67.4mil) so the bonds appeared to have been “redeemed”.
Defence lawyers said that in the same way the National Kidney Foundation, for example, invests in dialysis machines even though these depreciate in value, City Harvest invested in its Crossover Project to convert people to Christianity.
The Crossover Project Crossover Project started in 2001 with the aim of using co-founder Ho Yeow Sun’s secular music to evangelise.
In fact, auditor Foong Daw Ching had no objections to the use of City Harvest funds to finance Ho’s music albums as this furthered the church’s evangelism mission, claimed Michael Khoo, lawyer for former church investment manager Chew Eng Han.
This approval supposedly came in a meeting in 2003 between Foong and church leaders, shortly after a special audit was done following allegations that church funds were improperly used to finance Ho’s career.
Foong, however, said he could not recall this meeting. — The Straits Times/ Asia News network
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