By Qiuyi Tan/Claire Huang | Posted: 25 July 2012 0952 hrs
Serina Wee (C). (Photo credit: Tan Qiuyi)
SINGAPORE: Another person has been charged in relation to the City Harvest Church court case.
City Harvest Church’s former finance manager, Serina Wee Gek Yin, was read 10 charges – six related to criminal breach of trust and four to falsifying accounts.
She joins five others, including founder Kong Hee, who were charged last month with misappropriating money from the church’s building fund.
Some S$24 million was allegedly transferred from the church’s building fund account to two companies as bond investments.
These were alleged to be “sham transactions” meant to mask the diversion of the church’s building fund to finance the pop music career of Sun Ho, the wife of Kong Hee.
A further sum of $26.6 million was allegedly used to create the impression that the sham bonds had been fully “redeemed”, a process called “round-tripping”.
Wee, 35, was the first amongst the defendants to arrive in court on Wednesday, wearing a black dress and sunglasses.
She was accompanied by her husband and her lawyers.
Court papers said she was involved in a conspiracy to misappropriate millions of dollars of church funds which were allegedly channelled into bond investments.
Wee allegedly instigated a church accountant to record false entries in the church books on four occasions.
In court with Wee were the five other church members who had been charged earlier.
They are Kong Hee, senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, investment manager Chew Eng Han, finance manager Sharon Tan, and board member Lam Leng Hung.
From as early as 7.30am Wednesday, City Harvest Church supporters gathered at the carpark outside the Subordinate Courts.
They began to stream into the court at around 8am.
The court session lasted all of 15 minutes and every minute was filled with tension.
Supporters of the church packed the public gallery within minutes of the courtroom opening, while people from the media and the defence lawyers of the six accused persons filled the other half of the courtroom.
Kong Hee is represented by Mr Edwin Tong, while the rest have engaged senior counsel.
During the session, prosecution and defence came to agreement that the next mention will be 5 weeks later, on 30 August, so that all cases can be brought up at the same time.
All six are claiming trial and are out on bail of S$500,000 each.