Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Verdict Is In

After an investigation that lasted over 5 years and a 140-day trial, one of the longest in Singapore, City Harvest Church co-founder and senior pastor Kong Hee and five other church leaders were found guilty on Wednesday of all charges of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts against them.

Criminal breach of trust is punishable with a life sentence or up to 20 years in prison, and a fine. For falsifying accounts, the punishment is a maximum of 10 years in jail, a fine, or both. However it is unlikely the punishment will be so harsh for the 6 because...well, they didn't take any money from the church. The main question is how the leaders used the money donated to the church. 

Money was used to further the singing career of Kong Hee's wife, Sun Ho, and the money was moved throughout the world to hid that fact. Now some will argue that the church leaders should be allowed to use donations as they wish as the money were donated to the church. Other will argue that using the money to further the career of Sun Ho actually help increase the profile of City Harvest Church. 

I can understand the views of these arguments but in my mind, there was never any doubt the 6 will be found guilty. I mean if the Venerable Shi Ming Yi can be convicted of four charges of conspiracy, misuse of funds and forgery for trying to help his aide return money his aide stole from his temple, these guys had no chance. Good luck to them on the appeal but don't hold your breath.

The verdict is in and it is unlikely to change on appeal unless some new evidence pops out. After 5 years, that is just unlikely. The guilty verdict is here to stay.     

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