City Harvest Church
27 July 2012. Former finance chief of City Harvest Church (CHC) Serina Wee was charged on Wednesday with 10 criminal charges – six for criminal breach of trust and four for falsifying the accounts.She is the sixth person to be charged under CHC corruption scandal. Her bail was set at $500,000. Founder of CHC, Pastor Kong Hee, 47, and CHC management board member John Lam Leng Hung, 44, face three charges of criminal breach of trust. Kong’s deputy Tan Ye Peng, 39; church finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen, 36; and investment manager Chew Eng Han, 52 – face between seven and 10 charges of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts. CHC has increased its stake in Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre to 39.2 per cent, from its original 20 per cent in 2010. CHC’s executive pastor, Aries Zulkarnain, reveled this to the 6000 strong congregation at its its Saturday evening service. However, he reminded he congregation, “We are not into building buildings, we are into building lives. All we have done these 23 years has been in obedience to God and his call.” To date, the church has spent $97.8 million on purchasing its current 39.2 stake in the property. Through its “ownership-and-lease” model, which allows the church to use dividends from the property to fund the rental costs of its weekend services, the pastor explained that CHC “intends to eventually become self-sustaining in respect to payments of future rentals”. Founder of CHC, Kong Hee, has released a statement on the charges brought against him. The following is his statement in full. “The Prosecution has brought 3 charges against me, which I have carefully considered with my lawyers. “I do maintain my integrity, and will rigorously defend that integrity against these charges. “I have and will continue to place my faith and trust in our judicial system. I will explain the facts and circumstances to the Court, and am confident that I will be vindicated. “Sun and I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for all the people who have blessed us with their love, kindness and prayers during this challenging period of time. We have been tremendously humbled by the support and encouragement from the public, family and friends. We especially thank all those from City Harvest Church and the Christian community at large. They have been a constant source of strength. “I respect the Court proceedings which are underway, and will not make any comment about the charges until the appropriate time and forum.” The allegations against Kong Hee are that he diverted $24 million of CYC building fund into sham investments which in turn was used to further the music career of his pop celebrity wife Ho. A further $ 26 million was allegedly used to cover up the sham $24 million investment. Thus a total of $50 million was misappropriated. Zulkarnain maintained that the church did not lose any money in the transactions detailed in the charges, which list two separate amounts of S$24 million and a further S$26.6 million. “The S$24 million, which went into investment bonds, was returned to the church in full, with interest… The church did not lose any funds in the relevant transactions, and no personal profit was gained by the individuals concerned,” he said. Kong and his deputy pastor Tan Ye Peng will continue preaching at the church. Both face corruption charges.