WHEN Joachim Kang bought the S$835,000 (RM1.89mil) Teresa Ville apartment he jointly owns with his former parishioner, Mabel Chia Li Ling, he introduced her as his “niece” and paid for it in cash.
Between 1997 and last year, the 55-year-old former parish priest of the Church of St Teresa, also paid the credit card bills chalked up by Chia and her mother, Mak Quai Chun.
These details came out in a district court on Thursday when Deputy Public Prosecutor Anandan Bala tried to show that Kang, who is accused of embezzling S$5.1mil (RM11.58mil) in church funds, had been less than upfront about his relationship with Chia and a goddaughter, Anna Lee.
Kang’s relationship with the two women came under scrutiny after conveyancing lawyer Madelene Sng Gek Kim (who handled the purchase of Terese Ville for Kang) and Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) investigation officer Lee Kah Mun testified yesterday.
The lawyer, who got to know Kang when he conducted prayers over her father’s ashes kept in the church, told the court that he had introduced Chia to her as his niece.
The purchase was one of three property deals Kang was involved in, which was brought up in court yesterday.
Fruit hawker Chua Siang Hoe, who sold a flat in Bishan to Kang’s family, also testified that he had received S$60,000 (RM136,219) from Kang as partial payment for the flat.
Kang also made two payments totalling S$33,325 (RM75,658) for a condominium apartment in Malaysia registered in Chia’s name.
Later in the day, the CAD officer, Lee, took the stand and told the court about the documents, including ledgers and account books, which the department had seized from Kang’s office in the Church of St Teresa and the Church of the Holy Trinity, as well as the Teresa Ville unit.
The defence objected when the prosecution tried to produce two letters – one from a housing agent in Britain addressed to Kang, and the other, his reply to a British company about property tax to pay the Inland Revenue Department – claiming that they were irrelevant.
But district judge Jasvender Kaur allowed the letters to be admitted as evidence after the DPP convinced her it was relevant as one of the 19 charges Kang faces involves using church funds to buy his goddaughter, Anna Lee, a computer.
The trial continues on Monday. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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