After 7 Years, Here’s the Conclusion of The CHC Case

Back in 2010, the Office of the Commissioner of Charities began investigation on City Harvest Church leaders with the aid of the Singapore Police.

In 2 years’ time, Kong Hee, the senior pastor, and 5 other members of the church were arrested for fraud.

Trials went on for years, until 2017, when there’s finally something akin to a conclusion, as the 6 church leaders will be serving their jail sentences. So what exactly happened, and how exactly did it all conclude?

All six accused were found guilty of varying counts of criminal breach of trust, and 4 of them varying counts of falsifying the church’s accounts. In other words, they misappropriated church funds (about $50m collected from donations) for projects and investments without accountability and transparency to the churchgoers.

However, their initial jail sentences were shortened significantly just 2 weeks ago, after their successful attempts for appeal. In their defence, they claimed everything they had done was for the benefit of the church alone.

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Notably, most members of City Harvest Church stand by Kong Hee and the other leaders in support.

Their final sentences are as follows:

  • Serina Wee, former finance manager of CHC, was found guilty of 6 counts of criminal breach of trust and 4 counts of falsifying the church’s accounts, and subsequently sentenced to 2 years and 6 months’ jail time.
  • Sharon Tan, former finance manager of CHC, was found guilty of 3 counts of criminal breach of trust and 4 counts of falsifying the church’s accounts, and subsequently sentenced to 7 months’ jail time.
  • Chew Eng Han, CHC board member, was found guilty of 6 counts of criminal breach of trust and 4 counts of falsifying church accounts, and subsequently sentenced to 3 years and 4 months’ jail time.
  • Tan Ye Peng, founding member and senior pastor of CHC, was found guilty of 6 counts of criminal breach of trust and 4 counts of falsifying the church’s accounts, and subsequently sentenced to 3 years and 2 months’ jail time.
  • John Lam, former secretary of the church’s management board, was found guilty of 3 counts of criminal breach of trust, and subsequently sentenced to 1 year and 6 months’ jail time.
  • Kong Hee, senior pastor and founder of the church, was found guilty of 3 counts of criminal breach of trust, and subsequently sentenced to 3 years and 6 months’ jail time.

Most of the sentences had been cut by half or more, to the protest of the prosecution, and many members of the public. As a result, the prosecution as filed a Criminal Reference to the Court of Appeals. This means the Court will reassess and clarify the questions of law regarding the sentences. If the conclusion is that the sentences are too light after all, their original sentences would be reinstated.

5 of the convicted church leaders will be serving their jail terms starting tomorrow, 21 April. Former fund manager Chew Eng Han, however, had successfully deferred his jail sentence.

In response to the final verdict, Pastor Kong Hee has issued an apology on Facebook, expressing regret for his actions.

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There is no mention of the mishandled $50m funds in his apology. The comment section is filled with supportive messages from church members, however.

Since you’re here, why not check out Goody Feed’s YouTube videos as well? They’re so Singaporean, I bet you’ll like them!

Featured Image: channelnewsasia.com

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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com

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Wen Xianda

Wen Xianda

Xianda plays way too much video games. Seriously, somebody should do something. Otherwise, he's either writing or looking for the next game. He doesn't see the sun much, unless it's for good food, the only thing that gets him out of the house.
Wen Xianda