City Harvest Church says row with former fund manager ‘sensationalised’

City Harvest Church’s former investment manager Chew Eng Han and his firm allegedly owe the church millions of dollars in accrued interest. ― Today pic
City Harvest Church’s former investment manager Chew Eng Han and his firm allegedly owe the church millions of dollars in accrued interest. ― Today pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 22 — As the dust settles on the criminal trial of the leaders of City Harvest Church (CHC), the church has taken issue with news reports about its ongoing civil suit against its former fund manager Chew Eng Han and his firm AMAC Capital Partners.

It launched the suit last year, which involves about S$21 million (RM64 million) in unreturned investments, including S$4.6 million in accrued interest, that Chew and his firm allegedly owes the church.

On Friday, The Straits Times reported the claim made to the court by Chew’s lawyer that CHC had breached the Moneylenders Act by acting as an unlicensed moneylender.

At its church service today (Nov 22) at Suntec Singapore, CHC executive pastor Aries Zulkarnain said recent reports may have “sensationalised” the issue and invited members to raise queries on the matter.

Assuring the congregation that the suit is in the hands of “able lawyers”, CHC investment committee chairman Rick Chan also said members will be updated on latest developments.

“Given that CHC is accountable to its members and is a registered charity at law, our remaining (option) was to file a suit again AMAC and Eng Han to recover (the losses),” Mr Chan said at the start of the service.

Parties had failed to reach a satisfactory resolution despite four years of negotiation and pursuing a lawsuit was its “last resort”, he added. “We want you, our members, to know the actual facts, so that ... you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge. The matter has not gone for trial yet, and the board is doing our very best to protect the interests of the church,” said Mr Chan.

At today’s service, CHC founder and senior pastor Kong Hee, who was sentenced on Friday to eight years in jail for misuse of church funds, thanked the church for the prayers and moral support for him and the other church leaders. “I pray that with the conclusion of this court trial, healing will begin for you, and that we finish with this chapter and move on to greater things,” he said to loud applause.

Church members TODAY spoke to after the service said they remain hopeful and have faith in its leadership.

Mr Jonathan Goh, 42, said he did not feel discouraged: “Our hope is in God. We’re still very hopeful that God will use these circumstances for good.” Another churchgoer, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chin, said: “Our trust is in God, not in man. As the Bible tells us, all men will make mistakes.” — TODAY