According to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) in the appeal hearing of the high profile corruption case, City Harvest Church abused building funds to pay for the head pastor’s wife’s doomed singing career. Churchgoers of Singapore’s biggest megachurch contributed as much as S$50 million as “tithes to god”, which the charismatic pastor Kong Hee claimed will help build a “bigger and better” church to spread “the good news of the gospel”.
The money collected however ended up paying for Pastor Kong Hee’s luxurious condo in Sentosa Cove, paying music labels in United States to market his wife Sun Ho’s “music” and flying first class to and fro. Refuting the defence’s argument that funding of Sun Ho’s music career need to be kept secret, DPP Christopher Ong said:
“The CHC leaders knew the bonds were “excuses to expend building fund money on (Ms Ho’s) music career” and not investments. It was strange since the only thing needing to be “secret” was the fact that Ms Ho was funded by the church’s building fund – which was buried so deep that even the auditors don’t know about it. It was public knowledge that Ms Ho was “famous pastor Kong Hee’s wife”, and Kong would come out to preach at the end of her concerts. Where is the secrecy in this?”
High Court Judge Chan Seng Onn agreed in response saying:
“If I put out the money and eventually pay back to it myself, just sweeping around, playing around it myself, having full control of it, how can you call it an investment?”
The six City Harvest Church leaders were sentenced to jail between 21 months to 8 years, and might have their sentences increased after this appeal hearing. Sun Ho is however not charged because she claimed to be ignorant of the funding. Her music career has since ended and dusted.