- By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid
- POSTED: 11 Apr 2013 10:16 PM
City Harvest Church’s founder Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho were not among the five church leaders who reaffirmed their consent to voluntarily extend their suspension orders.
SINGAPORE: City Harvest Church’s founder Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho were not among the five church leaders who reaffirmed their consent to voluntarily extend their suspension orders.
The Commissioner of Charities (COC) had asked for eight church leaders – including Senior Pastor Kong, who had initially given their consent on 7 February, to confirm by 25 March this year.
This was revealed by the Commissioner in a statement to clarify why he had “no choice but to proceed with regulatory action”, and propose to remove the eight from their management positions.
The Commissioner of Charities’ inquiry into City Harvest Church, instituted in May 2010, has revealed misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity particularly to money in the Building Fund, earmarked for specific purposes.
Financial irregularities of at least $23 million were discovered. The funds were used with the intention to finance Sun Ho’s secular music career, and the inquiry had found that there was a concerted effort to conceal it from stakeholders.
On 28 December 2012, the Commissioner proposed to nine church leaders that it would defer the next stage of regulatory action if all nine agreed to voluntarily extend their suspension orders.
By 7 February 2013, eight out of nine, including Pastor Kong Hee and Sun Ho, had initially consented to this proposal.
Although there was no collective agreement, as one person did not consent, the Commissioner said it was still prepared to defer regulatory action.
On 14 March 2013, it asked the eight persons to confirm in writing that they are still agreeable to voluntarily extend their suspension.
A final deadline of 25 March 2013 was given.
But by then, the Commissioner only received consents from five of them.
This time, pastor Kong Hee and Sun Ho were not among the five who reaffirmed their consent even though they had agreed to do so earlier.
The Commissioner said because the individual cases are linked, he could not extend the suspension only for those who gave their confirmations.
Separately, in his latest statement on 11 April, Pastor Kong maintained that the premise for the Commissioner’s offer had changed.
He said as he and his wife had already agreed to the original terms in February 2013, they did not see any reason to consent again to the revised offer.
There was no mention of the 25 March deadline in his latest statement.
The Commissioner has allowed all eight persons to make representations before deciding on removing them.
For four individuals, the Commissioner is also inviting representations from the public. They are:
– Pastor Kong Hee;
– Chairman of City Harvest Church’s Board Lam Leng Hung who served as its Treasurer from 7 March 2010 to 10 April 2011;
– Vice-Chairman of City Harvest Church’s Board Tan Ye Peng; and
– Key officer of City Harvest Church Kelvin Teo Meng How who exercises general control and management of the Charity’s administration.
All representations to the Commissioner of Charities have to be made by 13 May 2013.
It is understood that some church-goers have already submitted representations to the Commissioner of Charities not to remove their leaders.