Singapore: City Harvest church board members suspended, alleged fund abuse
SINGAPORE, June 26 — The Commissioner of Charities (COC), following an Inquiry into the City Harvest Church (CHC), has suspended eight members of the church governing board with immediate effect under the Charities Act, following financial irregularities in the use of its building fund.
In May 2010, the COC and the Commercial Affairs Department commenced investigations into financial transactions involving several individuals and companies connected to City Harvest.
In a statement today, the COC said its inquiry revealed "misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the Charity, particularly in relation to the funds that were in the Building Fund which had been raised and earmarked for specific purposes".
Financial irregularities of at least S$23 million (RM57 million) from the funds were discovered, the COC said.
"These funds were used with the purported intention to finance Ho Yeow Sun's secular music career to connect with people. There was a concerted effort to conceal this movement of funds from its stakeholders." the statement read. Ms Ho Yeow Sun, also known as Sun Ho, is the wife of City Harvest founder Kong Hee, and has been pursuing a pop career which has included stints in the United States.
The COC said the following eight people "have been suspended from the exercise of their office or employment as governing board members, officers, agents or employees of the Charity with immediate effect":
- Kong Hee, member of the board and executive member;
- Lam Leng Hung, chairman of the board, trustee, agent and executive member;
- Tan Ye Peng, vice-chairman of the board, trustee, employee, agent and executive member;
- Tan Shao Yuen Sharon, employee and executive member;
- Chew Eng Han, agent and executive member;
- Ho Yeow Sun, agent and executive member;
- Kelvin Teo Meng How, agent, employee and executive member; and
- Tan Su Pheng Jacqueline, employee and executive member.
The eight have also been suspended from their executive memberships in CHC with immediate effect.
The COC added in its statement that it "will also consider taking further courses of action under the Charities Act against these individuals in order to protect the charitable property of the Charity". This could include their removal from their office as trustee, governing board members, officers, agents or employees of the CHC.
While suspended, they will be prohibited from involvement in managing or representing City Harvest, or attending any of its annual general meetings, extraordinary general meetings and board meetings, the COC said.
City Harvest Church's normal services can continue as usual, it added. — TODAYOnline