City Church Harvest leadership not telling the truth about use of church funds, says former investment manager

City Harvest Church founder Pastor Kong Hee (2nd from the right) and his wife Sun Ho (2nd from the left). Kong and five other senior members of the church are accused of mismanaging church funds to bankroll Ms Ho's singing career.Photo: Reuters/Tim Chong

Chew Eng Han, formerly the investment manager for Singapore-based City Harvest Church, took the stand as the high profile funds mismanagement case against the church leadership resumed in court.

Pastor Kong Hee stands accused of misrepresenting his control of Xtron Productions, the multimedia outfit that helps the City Harvest Church manage its "Crossover Project" – a secular music project that involved Pastor Kong's wife Sun Ho. 

The church is currently embroiled in legal trouble that alleges mismanagement of its funds by Pastor Kong and five other senior church members including Chew. The case alleges that the accused channelled $19.2 million of the church's money to bankroll Sun Ho's secular music career by investing it in sham bonds issued by two firms linked to the church.

Pastor Kong had earlier stated that the project is important in helping the church reach out to the masses and spread its message.

According to Channel News Asia, Chew Eng Han alleged that Pastor Kong and Sharon Tan, the church's finance manager, controlled Xtron and made the decisions in the company. This contradicted earlier statements made by Pastor Kong claiming that neither he nor the church control Xtron Productions.

"The only reason I broke away was that the story being cooked up was not the truth. Why is so much responsibility being placed on the investment manager?" he said.

"Why would anyone divest so much money into a vehicle and not control it?"

Chew also asserted that the investments he made on behalf of the church were genuine, and said he was disappointed over what he claims to be a lack of conviction or leadership from Pastor Kong when he and Sharon Tan were questioned by the church's lawyer Jimmy Yim about the bonds and how they were going to handle the proceeds.

"When the fire broke out, I didn't see any leadership, I didn't see any shepherds. All I saw was fear," Chew told the court.

He said he left the church in 2013 because he did not want to be "united with a team that chooses the most convenient way to defend themselves."

All of Chew's co-accused had previously denied knowledge of the bonds and pointed to him as the mastermind of the investments.

The case continues.