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Sunday September 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday September 22, 2013 MYT 6:39:33 AM
THE City Harvest trial wrapped up its second tranche yesterday with Foong Daw Ching, whose accounting firm Baker Tilly TFW audited the church.
The 63-year-old’s eight days on the witness stand were marked by the phrase “I don’t recall” as both the prosecution and defence prodded him on meetings with church leaders and advice he had supposedly given the church as long ago as 2003.
City Harvest founder Kong Hee and five of his deputies allegedly misused S$24mil (RM60mil) of church funds to finance the pop music career of Kong’s wife, Ho Yeow Sun, 43, and another S$26.6mil (RM67.2mil) to cover this up.
But their defence team sought to show that allegedly sham transactions to funnel the money were legitimate and the accused had acted “in good faith” on Foong’s advice.
This tranche was also focused on two church-linked firms that allegedly helped the accused to commit the offences.
They were music production firm Xtron Productions, which managed Ho’s career from 2003 to 2008, and glassware manufacturer Firna, owned by long-time church member Wahju Hanafi.
The prosecution tried to show that Hanafi and Xtron director Choong Kar Weng – who both took the stand – simply rubber-stamped deals, and their firms were vehicles for the sham transactions.
Other witnesses included two church trustees and an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer called to explain discrepancies in Mr Hanafi’s and Choong’s travel records.
The trial is expected to resume from January to March when Kong and the other accused are slated to testify. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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