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Published: Wednesday January 22, 2014 MYT 10:42:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday January 22, 2014 MYT 10:43:26 AM

Church’s lease deal ‘didn’t make sense’, court told


CITY Harvest Church’s S$46.3mil (RM120.3mil) eight-year rental lease agreement with music production firm Xtron puzzled the church’s auditor, who said it “didn’t make sense”.

Under the contract, signed in October 2009, Xtron would have to procure a location to be leased to the church for worship. At the time, its lease of Singapore Expo was to expire on Sept 30, 2011.

Baker Tilly managing partner Sim Guan Seng, who presided over the church’s accounts for financial years 2008 and 2009, and for Xtron’s in 2009, said: “That’s a big sum of money to pay to a company like Xtron.”

He was taking the stand for the third day yesterday. 

“In a sense, you are paying for rental commitment when Xtron didn’t have a lease to back it up. So we were wondering why was it done. Commercially it just didn’t make sense.”

The prosecution alluded that the sum of money was used to cover holes in Xtron’s account books, after the church invested Building Fund monies into the church-linked firm that was allegedly misappropriated. 

This forms a part of the “round-tripping” charges faced by four of six current and former senior church leaders, who are on trial for varying counts of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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