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Author Topic: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]  (Read 4554 times)

Offline greentara

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Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« on: November 22, 2015, 09:25:05 PM »
City Harvest trial: 21 months to 8 years' jail for leaders
Kong Hee was given the heaviest sentence of eight years' jail while Sharon Tan received the lightest at 21 months.
By Vanessa Paige Chelvan and Justin Ong
POSTED: 20 Nov 2015 14:38 UPDATED: 21 Nov 2015 00:08

SINGAPORE: Six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders were sentenced to between 21 months and eight years' jail on Friday (Nov 20) for misappropriating S$50 million of church funds.

Senior pastor Kong Hee, the founder of the church, was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment for criminal breach of trust. John Lam, former secretary of the church's management board, was sentenced to three years' jail. Sharon Tan, former finance manager, was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Former board member Chew Eng Han was given a sentence of six years and senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, five years and six months. Serina Wee, former finance manager for the church, was handed a five-year jail term.

Bail for all six was extended and the start of their sentence was deferred until Jan 11 next year for them to spend time with their families over Christmas.

In reading out the sentencing, Judge See Kee Oon said that Kong was the most culpable, followed by Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han, Serina Wee and John Lam.

The six were found guilty on Oct 21 on all counts of criminal breach of trust, and falsification of accounts. They were in court on Friday for oral submissions.


The leaders set up sham bond investments to fund the Crossover Project, the church's attempt to reach out to non-Christians by propelling Kong's wife, Ho Yeow Sun, to pop stardom. Sun Ho, as she is commonly known, was not in court on Friday.

In court, the defence argued that the co-accused were merely following orders and acting in the interests of the church, and thus their sentences should be calibrated.

The prosecution team consisting of DPPs Mavis Chionh, Tan Kiat Pheng, Christopher Ong, Joel Chen, Jeremy Yeo and Eugene Sng submitted that "each of the accused persons played their respective roles in a conspiracy with intent to cause wrongful loss to CHC and to defraud the auditors".

"They did not merely wait passively for Kong to instruct them to carry out each specific act and deception needed to drive the conspiracy forward. They took their own initiative to deceive and mislead the trusting members of CHC where necessary, and cannot escape responsibility for those acts," said the prosecution.

After hearing the submissions from both sides, Judge See passed the sentence at 3pm.

"For us ex-members, we'll leave it to the judge. We have to respect the Honour's decision. As what the prosecutor says, we need to do it right now because it will have a great repercussion on other mega churches on what and what cannot be done," said a man who identified himself as a former City Harvest member but declined to be named.

After the sentencing, Sharon Tan's lawyer Paul Seah said that he and his client will look at the judge's comments and decide what to do next.

Tan Ye Peng's lawyer N Sreenivasan said that it has been a "trying time" for his client and that Tan "needs to pray, reflect and discern".

"STAGGERING" AMOUNT MISAPPROPRIATED

This case involves the “largest amount of charity funds ever misappropriated in Singapore’s legal history”, the prosecution declared on Friday, in urging the court to impose stiff sentences on the six City Harvest Church leaders for mishandling the "staggering" amount of S$50 million.

In seeking jail terms of between five to 12 years for each of the accused, the prosecution said their overarching consideration was that of general deterrence in order to send a clear message that those entrusted with charity funds “must deal with them honestly” or face severe punishment.

The prosecution also pointed out that it is important to “restore any public confidence that may have been lost in the charity sector” as a result of the present long-running and high-profile case. “The charity sector … depends on public confidence to ensure that worthy causes and charitable works continue to be supported financially,” prosecutors said.

The six accused “abused the exceptional trust and faith” placed in them by CHC’s members, repeatedly misleading them, added the prosecution. Kong’s was a position of “implicit trust”, and he had “pre-eminence” within the leadership of CHC. So much so that “the entire church and its related entities” took his direction, the prosecution said, but Kong “brazenly and manipulatively” betrayed this trust “for the purposes of furthering a criminal conspiracy”, they argued.

The prosecution also pointed out that the co-accused “were not just blind followers … they were both trusted and trusting”, pointing to the plan initiated and executed by Tan Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han, Serina Wee and Sharon Tan on their own accord and without any consultation with Kong.

Prosecutors called the actions of the six “particularly sophisticated, carefully planned and coordinated”. “The transactions were all disguised as legitimate commercial transactions … making their sham inherently difficult to detect,” the prosecution told the court, pointing to the manipulation or fabrication of minutes of meetings to suit the needs of the accused.

The prosecution cited several precedents to support their submissions on the appropriate sentences for the six, however “none of the precedents … are on all fours with the present facts”, they admitted, saying that the circumstances in which the six committed the offences are unique and unprecedented.

To support their push for up to 11 to 12 years' jail for the likes of Kong, the prosecution reiterated that “the misappropriation of (a) charity’s funds by its most senior officers would necessarily lead to public disquiet and a loss of confidence in the charity sector as a whole”.

Judge See acknowledged the incomparable nature of the case, particularly “the lack of any personal wrongful gain, any motive of self-interest or enrichment, and the absence of an intent to cause permanent loss and return of the monies to CHC”.

CO-ACCUSED FOLLOWED SPIRITUAL LEADER KONG: JUDGE

Judge See did caveat this by saying in his view, the accused did not return the monies out of genuine remorse, but did so out of fear that the sham transactions might be discovered. However the judge said “it remains relevant that CHC ultimately suffered no loss”.

The judge said he had characterised the actions of the six “as being akin to a ‘temporary loan’ arrangement which was unlawful as they were effectively putting CHC’s funds into their own hands to use as they needed”, despite them being “plainly not authorised” to do so.

In handing down the harshest sentence to Kong, Judge See said that Kong’s co-accused were “ultimately following the vision and direction (of their) spiritual leader whom they had deferred to and become accustomed to trusting”. The judge also called Kong the “prime mover” and “driving force” behind the Crossover Project.

Lawyers for Kong, Wee, Lam, and the two Tans said their clients had not yet decided whether to file a notice of appeal, leaving Chew the sole accused who has confirmed his intention to appeal. The latest date for the accused to file a notice of appeal is Dec 2.

While he declined to speak to the media after the sentence was handed down, Kong later posted a note on Facebook saying he is studying the judgement with his lawyers. He added that with the wrap of the trial, the "season of pain and turmoil for the church should soon come to an end".

After the sentencing, the church also posted a note on Facebook thanking members for showing unity and strength, and particularly in the last few "extremely difficult months".

"Let us continue to pray for the six and their families as they prepare for this next step in the legal process," said a note signed by two pastors and Sun Ho.

The Commissioner of Charities meantime said it would resume regulatory actions to remove the convicted members of the church from positions of executive power in the charity.

- CNA/wl

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/city-harvest-trial-21/2278238.html

Offline greentara

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Re: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2015, 09:29:16 PM »
Former City Harvest fund manager Chew Eng Han: 'I hardly have anything now'
Nov 22, 2015 10:55am
By NG JUN SEN and RONALD LOH

He was the loyal follower who rose quickly through the ranks at City Harvest Church (CHC).

But after Chew Eng Han and five others from the church, including founder Kong Hee, were arrested, that loyalty counted for nothing.

He grilled Kong Hee in court during the trial. He singled out the former pastor for the mess they were in.

He blamed vanity for Kong’s persistence in pursuing his wife’s pop-star ambition.

Chew let fly at in a two hour interview with The New Paper on Sunday.

Chew says he left CHC in 2013 partly because of how Kong Hee and his wife had misled a small group of donors who had been supporting the livelihood of the couple.

He adds that Kong did so by showing the donors “false accounts”.

The money was channelled to a multi-purpose account (MPA), a trust fund that comprised of personal donations — “love gifts” — from about 40 of Kong’s closest supporters, court proceedings showed.

The MPA was used by Kong Hee and Ms Ho, whose stage name was Sun Ho, for their personal expenses including travel, medical bills, hair and make-up.

The New Paper on Sunday had provided a breakdown on Nov 8 based on documents tendered in court.

Chew and his wife had donated “hundreds of thousands” in love gifts to the MPA from 2007 to 2009.

They gave to the MPA because Kong Hee and Ms Ho were “labouring for the Lord” and had announced that they had taken themselves off the CHC payroll in 2005.

“They need to survive. That’s what we think. No salary, poor thing. Let’s donate love gifts.”

They had no idea what the money was used on, or who else contributed to it, as Kong Hee and his subordinates did not reveal the full accounts for the monies from 2007 to 2009 to the donors.

The donors had no issue because the money was meant for the couple anyway, says Chew.

TURNING POINT

In 2010, Kong Hee held a meeting for all the MPA donors for the first time and presented a spreadsheet showing that the fund was in deficit.

Says Chew: “He wanted more money... So he gives us an impression that the collection from us is not enough to cover the expenses.

“Then, he gave us a form to write down how much more we think we can increase our gifts in the coming year, and the aim was to try to prod us to achieve a certain targeted amount.”

City Harvest Church founder and senior pastor Kong Hee (right) and his wife Ho Yeow Sun at the State Courts on Oct 21, 2015 for the verdict of the CHC trial.

It turned out in later investigations that Ms Ho and Kong had been withdrawing more than $400,000 from the MPA as part of Ms Ho’s salary, royalties and bonuses for her music career.

This was not told to the MPA donors during the meeting, as Kong admitted in court that CHC had a practice of keeping its members’ income confidential.

Says Chew: “We had no clue before that first MPA meeting in 2010 that he had been collecting (more than) a million dollars.

“It was emotional (when he showed us the MPA was in deficit). It was like: ‘Poor Pastor Kong, he’s got so much expenses because he is involved in the Crossover Project.’

He says the Commercial Affairs Department questioned fellow accused Serina Wee why she kept two separate spreadsheets on the MPA cash-flow, one to show to the MPA donors and another showing that Sun Ho was paid monies from the account.

Chew says: “She (Wee) said that it was because Sun’s salary is very sensitive. But it should not be sensitive to the 50 of us because we already intended to give to her (Ms Ho) anyway.”

Chew quit the church in February 2013 after 18 years.

He said that ordinary church members who donated to the church, building fund and the Crossover Project sacrificed their own well-being instead.

He recalled a story of a CHC member who donated “a lot” of his earnings to the building fund.

Says Chew: “He came in early to the office to eat biscuits and save money. The office biscuits.

“So, my friend (who was his employer) asked him, why are you eating biscuits every morning? He said that it was so he could sacrifice and give more to the fund.”

Chew personally donated about $600,000 to the building fund and to Sun Ho’s artiste management company, Xtron Productions, in total, according to court proceedings.

He says: “These people are all living difficult lives, you know? Even for myself, for all the earnings I have given, I could have saved or multiplied it for my own children.

“I hardly have anything now, because I believed in this vision, in serving God.”

Kong and Ms Ho did not reply to our repeated requests for comment.

JUDGE: KONG HEE EXPLOITED CHEW

Kong Hee had exploited Chew, said State Courts Presiding Judge See Kee Oon in his written judgement last month.

“Eng Han’s forceful personality, coupled with his determination and drive to achieve his objectives, was recognised and exploited by Kong Hee,” said Judge See.

“They tapped on and fuelled each other’s drive, one as a spiritual leader and the other as a finance expert.

But Chew had his failings too.

The judge found that Chew expected no losses from using the building fund to fund the Crossover Project because he thought “everything in City Harvest that was done, succeeded”.

“That is surely a bold and sweeping exaggeration that gives the lie to the extravagant overconfidence that characterised his conduct and mindset,” he said.

Chew Eng Han first joined City Harvest Church (CHC) in December 1995 after he was introduced to the church by his nephew.

He converted to Christianity that day and rose through the ranks.

He started as a cell group leader in 1997 and became a CHC board member in April 1999.

Chew, 55, said: “(Kong Hee) picked me because I was very dedicated to the church. A very hardworking labourer for God.”

Chew then was also the head of State Street Bank.

“He probably chose me as well because at that time, there were not many professionals working in the church (who were) earning so much money.

“I never felt attracted to the position. To me was just a chance to serve even more effectively.”

The church also experienced a massive swell in its congregation size between 1995 and 1997, he says.

When he joined in 1995, there were just 1,300 members.

That number doubled the following year before increasing to 5,000 in 1997.

“At that time, we were still good. I think it was the presence of God (and) the pure worship. This was 1996, 1997, 1998.

“These three years the atmosphere was pure. The staff were all very hardworking and dedicated to the Kingdom,” he says.

Chew went on to become a key figure in the church’s hunt for a new worship premise as well as the structuring of the Xtron and Firna bonds.

DONATIONS

Chew Eng Han questioned the size of the medical expenses chalked up by the couple.

According to court documents, they spent around $140,000 in 2007, and around $180,000 in 2008 and 2009 on medical bills.

“I only see one issue of Kong and Sun who were living it up. But when they presented the MPA (to us), they make it seem like they are so sacrificial and are having a hard time,” says Chew.

Former CHC member Jean Jacques Lavigne tells TNP that he believes the way MPA was dealt with remained a sore point for him till today.

He left the church in 2013 after being a member for 15 years. By then, he had already donated a “five-figure sum” to support Kong believing that it had gone into the MPA.

This was on top of his regular tithes and donations to the church and the building fund.

Says Mr Lavigne, a CEO of a superyacht firm: “When he comes to the givers, he would say, ‘Oh you are so good to me, dear MPA givers, this is how much you gave me. But I’m spending so much. Could you give a bit more?’ So, people give a bit more.”

But he did not know that Sun Ho had been drawing out around $400,000 as royalties, bonuses and salaries every year.

He only found out when Chew told him about it.

Source: http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore-news/former-city-harvest-fund-manager-chew-eng-han-i-hardly-have-anything-now

Offline greentara

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Re: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2016, 02:24:51 PM »
Garcia, David. 2016. Some thoughts on the 'prosperity gospel'. CatholicNews, Vol 66, No 02, pp. 16-17. http://catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=544&Itemid=473


Enlarged Image | pdf


"God" Says Sorry to man (Kong Hee)


... sell their house and downgrade to build "God" a Great House


Give until your heart is broken...





Camel and Eye of a Needle (Applicable to all human beings, including Pastors)
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 10:46:30 PM by greentara »

Offline greentara

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Re: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2016, 03:44:04 PM »
City Harvest leaders abused influence to conduct biggest charity swindle: Prosecution
Amanda Lee | Published: 12:53 PM, September 20, 2016

SINGAPORE – Calling for the appeals of all six convicted City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders to be dismissed on Tuesday (Sept 20), the prosecution called them out for committing the largest misappropriation of charity funds in Singapore through holding positions of trust and responsibility within the church.

Pointing out that they had abused their influence to come up with sham transactions involving church building funds, deputy public prosecutor Christopher Ong said: "Together, they cultivated and exploited a 'culture of insecurity mired in secrecy and opaqueness' to commit the largest misappropriation of charity funds in Singapore legal history."

CHC’s founder, Kong Hee, former second-in-command Tan Ye Peng, former church board member John Lam, former church fund manager Chew Eng Han and former church finance managers Serina Wee and Sharon Tan were back in court from last Thursday to appeal against their convictions and sentences for misappropriating S$50.6 million worth of church funds.

After the last appeal was heard on Monday, the prosecution took the stand on Tuesday to rebut and refute the defence’s arguments. Adding that they cannot treat the appeal hearing as a "re-hearing", Mr Ong said an appeal to overturn a conviction is justified only if the trial's judge assessment was plainly against the weight of evidence, which was not the case in this instance.  

Mr Ong also said equating church co-founder Sun Ho's music career to the Crossover Project, which was a church purpose, is “misconceived”, as the fundamental questions are whether it was an authorised use of S$24 million from the church's building fund to finance Ho's music career, among other things.

"It is clear from the facts that neither of these was an authorised use, and that the offenders knew this," he added. "Thus, the transactions that were the subject-matter of both the sham investment charges and round-tripping charges were not church purposes, and the use of church funds for these transactions amounted to (criminal breach of trust)."

Mr Ong also rebutted Lam's arguments that the trial judge found that his knowledge was same as the other church board members, which was that CHC only had influence over Xtron. He pointed out that the judge also found that Lam knew that Kong made "day-to-day decisions" regarding the Crossover Project's expenditure, and that Lam knew that the CHC board was in a position to make decisions on transactions between the church and music production company Xtron without consulting Xtron’s directors.

"He (Lam) knew Kong Hee had controlled the Crossover (Project), he knew that Xtron bonds were excuses to put money into Kong Hee's hands," Mr Ong told the court.

In their written submissions filed last week, the prosecution is seeking for longer sentences of five to 12 years for the six who have been sentenced to jail terms of between 21 months and eight years.

The hearing continues later in the afternoon, with Kong Hee's lawyer, Edwin Tong expected to present his arguments.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/city-harvest-leaders-abused-influence-conduct-biggest-charity-swindle-prosecution

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Re: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2016, 05:44:17 AM »
'Noble ends cannot justify criminal means', prosecutors tell City Harvest leaders
By Vanessa Paige Chelvan Posted 20 Sep 2016 21:24

SINGAPORE: Six City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders have argued they did not misuse S$50 million of church funds with sinister intent, but prosecutors on Tuesday (Sep 20) said that this cannot justify "telling lies and misappropriating money".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong said that even if the offenders, including pastors Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng, did so "in good faith", "what essentially they ended up convincing themselves of is that the ends justify the means".

In that "dangerous climate ... crimes ended up being committed. No matter what the means, the sentence meted out cannot send the message that if you think your ends were noble then the means you choose are going to be mitigated by your ends ... no matter what your ends may be, crime is not the means you should choose", added DPP Ong.

The six were convicted last year of misappropriating S$50 million of church funds to secretly bankroll the secular career of Kong's wife, Sun Ho.

To keep the church's hand in her career under wraps, millions were channelled through two companies - one of them being music production firm Xtron.

Prosecutors allege Kong controlled Xtron, and the millions passing through it. At trial, Kong had denied this, saying he was involved only as a "liaison". This "seems to reduce him to the role of a postman", prosecutors said, but the evidence shows Kong was in full control of ... the millions", DPP Ong said.

He pointed out that Kong "can't seem to decide how much control (he had)" and has routinely changed his evidence surrounding this point to his convenience. "(Kong) has no credibility whatsoever," the prosecutor said.

Kong's influence over Xtron was so great that he sometimes single-handedly made decisions regarding millions of dollars of church funds, bypassing the company's directors, the High Court heard.

His co-accused, former CHC board member John Lam, had admitted during the 143-day trial that if Kong disagreed with Xtron's directors, "Kong's view would prevail", DPP Ong said.

Turning to Kong's co-accused, prosecutors refused to accept they had been "brainwashed" and said they should be held responsible for their roles in the conspiracy.

"They are clearly intelligent people ... it's too simplistic to view this as them submitting to Kong's vision. This is not a case of these people being just everyday church members and Kong being the pastor right at the top. These are all leaders", DPP Ong argued.

Kong's right-hand man, pastor Tan, had "peddled untruths" to the church's auditors, telling them Xtron's directors made decisions independently. Former investment manager Chew Eng Han also "planned for lies to be told" to auditors, and had a major hand in designing round-tripping transactions to disguise the origin of monies channelled into Ms Ho's career, prosecutors said.

They said former finance managers Serina Wee and Sharon Tan knew the transactions were not genuine, yet "misrepresented" them as legitimate transactions to the church's board members and in the church's accounts.

Lam - who prosecutors said "was at the apex of CHC's leadership" - together with pastors Kong and Tan, was complicit in hiding the truth from his fellow board members. The former treasurer of the board had also had a hand in drafting the church's investment policy. However, his concern in doing this was "not to ensure CHC's investments were safe, but to ensure the sham Xtron bonds" would not be discovered, DPP Ong said.

The deceptive and manipulative actions of the six allowed the conspiracy to continue "in a climate of unquestioning acceptance", prosecutors told the court.

The appeal continues on Wednesday morning, when prosecutors will make their case for stiffer sentences to be meted out to the six offenders. 

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/noble-ends-cannot-justify-criminal-means-prosecutors-tell-city/3142282.html

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Re: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2017, 08:14:03 AM »

Offline greentara

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Re: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2017, 10:24:47 PM »



Offline greentara

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Re: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2017, 08:02:39 AM »
City Harvest case: Legal costs may run up to record $15m for criminal trial
Ng Huiwen | 12 April 2017

The most expensive criminal trial in Singapore's history is set to get even more expensive.

Lawyers' fees for the 142-day City Harvest Church (CHC) trial at the State Courts, from its start in May 2013 to sentencing in November 2015, had previously been estimated to cost more than $10 million.

But this could rise by between $1 million and $5 million more, now that the prosecution has referred the case to the Court of Appeal.

This came after a High Court appeal last Friday ended with jail terms for all six defendants cut.

Each of the five defendants who are still being represented by lawyers could incur at least $1 million more in legal fees, for what is likely to be the most crucial stretch left in the long-drawn case, said senior lawyer Foo Cheow Ming.

$10m
Previous estimate of lawyers' fees for the trial at the State Courts, from its start in May 2013 to sentencing in November 2015.

$1m-$5m
Range of the amount that the fees could rise to, now that the prosecution has referred the case to the Court of Appeal.

"As the criminal reference (at the apex court) is crucial and will affect the bottom line fate of each party, I don't see the additional fees as being lower than $1 million per head, as starters, maybe even more."

Taking a different view, Senior Counsel Thio Shen Yi said additional legal costs might possibly be kept at about $250,000 per party as the criminal reference will be centred solely on the interpretation of Section 409 of the Penal Code.

"The work the lawyers have to do at this stage may be fairly limited. They know the facts of the case well and instead, they will be now diving deeper into an isolated point of law."

The sixth defendant, former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han, has been representing himself since May 2014.

Four of the other five are represented by high-ranking senior counsel, who typically charge $1,200 or more an hour, lawyers said. And the appearance of these top counsel in the High Court or Court of Appeal usually costs about $10,000 to $20,000 a day.

However, the lawyers may agree on a cap on legal fees, depending on a client's ability to pay.

The CHC trial is the second longest in history, beaten only by a drug-trafficking case in the 1990s that went on for 168 days.

Senior Counsel N. Sreenivasan, who represents CHC deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, said yesterday: "The truth of the matter is that most, if not all, of the accused (including my client) have long run out of funds to pay their fees during the trial itself, let alone for the appeal and now the reference."

But the lawyers have continued "because it is our duty to complete a job that we have started and because we have come to see our clients as people caught in circumstances that they did not fully appreciate at the time events took place".

The lawyers for the other four defendants declined to comment.

In June 2012, the Commissioner of Charities (COC) issued an order to restrict CHC from paying the legal fees of those involved in the case, and neither the church nor its employees may be involved in raising funds for the legal costs.

A COC spokesman told The Straits Times the order is still in force.

However, the church, in a list of questions on the case posted on its website, said that while it is restricted by the authorities from helping to pay for the legal fees, "individual members are free to support them".

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/legal-costs-may-run-up-to-record-15m-for-criminal-trial

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Re: Kong Hee et al. [Certified Dishonest]
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2017, 09:55:38 AM »
Convicted CHC leaders barred from running any charities
Kenneth Cheng | May 24, 2017

SINGAPORE — The six former City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders convicted of misappropriating more than S$50 million in church funds have been permanently banned from running any charities, the Office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) said on Wednesday (May 24).

The COC has also issued a new restriction order, barring the church from appointing or employing the six convicted ex-leaders and two others without its approval.

The eight individuals are church founder Kong Hee, his former second-in-command Tan Ye Peng, former church board member Lam Leng Hung, former church finance managers Sharon Tan and Serina Wee, and former church fund manager Chew Eng Han, along with church staff members Kelvin Teo and Jacqueline Tan.

The COC said that, in its review of the removal proceedings, a pertinent consideration was that the offences committed by the six former church leaders entailed “dishonesty and/or deception”.

“(They) are thus permanently disqualified, under operation of law, from being a governing board member or key officer of a charity… or a trustee for a charity,” the COC said in a press release.

It would be an offence under the law if they assume any of these roles while disqualified. The disqualification — which has an effect similar to a removal order — means all six individuals would be banned permanently from controlling or managing any charity.

As for Kelvin Teo and Jacqueline Tan, the COC noted that they were “comparatively less culpable” than the six former leaders  “in the mismanagement and misconduct of the church”. The duo have also been abiding by a “voluntary suspension” from their posts in the church for a four-year period from 2013. Hence, they were issued “stern warning letters”, the COC added.

Restriction orders issued previously that prohibit the church from paying the legal fees of the six convicted former leaders and from entering transactions linked to the payment of services to all eight individuals and related entities stay in force, said the COC.

The removal proceedings had previously been deferred “on a goodwill basis” until after the conclusion of the criminal proceedings for the six former church leaders. They resumed in November 2015 and were reviewed after the recent end to their criminal appeals in the High Court.

On April 7, the court had upheld their convictions, but gave all six former leaders shorter jail terms, after their charges for criminal breach of trust by an agent were reduced to a lesser one. Their sentences range from seven months to three years and six months’ jail.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/former-city-harvest-church-leaders-barred-holding-office-charities