Judgment day of a different kind approaches for the leaders of Singapore’s City Harvest Church. Quite literally, a judge has been appointed for the trial. District Judge See Kee Oon will preside over the trial that is set for 15th to 23rd May, which was decided during a closed-door pre-trial conference last Friday.
Six City Harvest Church leaders:
- Senior Pastor Kong Hee
- Serina Wee Gek Yin
- Chew Eng Han
- Sharon Tan
- Tan Ye Peng
- John La
..are charged with misusing church funds. All six leaders are accused of conspiring to cheat the church of millions of dollars.
They allegedly channeled some SGD24 million into sham bond investments and misappropriated some USD26 million to cover up the first sum.
The millions and millions of church funds were allegedly used to boost the music career of Senior Pastor Kong Hee’s wife, Sun Ho:
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Initially, the defence lawyers tried to postpone the trial dates, which was strongly objected by the prosecution. After which, it was decided that the trial dates should remain unchanged as the case has been going on for almost a year and it’s in the public’s interest that it isn’t postponed.
Singapore’s Commissioner of Charities (COC) is considering removing eight individuals from their positions in City Harvest Church, including church founder Kong Hee. The management board of City Harvest Church says it has been informed of the COC’s intention to remove eight individuals from their office.
In a statement, the chairman of the management board Aries Zulkarnain says it is a very challenging time for the church leaders and members, their families and the church. He adds the church will stay united to continue serving its members and community to the best of its ability.
Also, pastors Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng will continue to perform their pastoral duties.
A final closed-door session will be held on 23rd April before the trial begins.