Durai's misfortune was being cross examined by Senior Counsel and MP Davinder Singh, who shrewdly used the court of public opinion to crucify him. That's why Mrs Goh Chok Tong was so disgusted with the proceedings, she stormed out with the infamous "peanuts" comment.
Durai did himself in when he tried to explain how business class entitlement was used to fly first class. All because in April 1997, NKF volunteer Archie Ong personally sighted Durai seated in a Singapore Airlines' first-class cabin. Ong was sued for defamation and ended up paying out an undisclosed sum in damages. Aero-modelling instructor Piragasam Singaravelu was hauled to court in 1998 for saying similar, and ended up with same fate. The peeve about this case is that the truth could have been established with a simple phone call to SIA. Once you are on their Priority Passenger list, they have all your personal details on tap (pun intended) - including seating preference.
The prosecutor's case against City Harvest's Kong Hee hinges on the allegation that funds collected from church members were diverted to promote wife Ho Yeow Sun's singing career. Problem here is that the "Crossover Project" was already announced as a ministry to reach out to the secular crowd. The 33,000+ strong congregation willingly empty their wallets in good faith, believing their pastor knows best how to utilise the monies collected. It can be argued that the creative accounting measures are but means to the same end - reaching out to the infidels. The uninitiated may not realise that "love offerings" collected in churches are not always used to feed the hungry that Mother Teresa dedicated a life time to. Sometimes money is spent on a new car, because the pastor's vehicle is "already 5 years old". One pastor's overseas family holiday was entered in the books as a sabattical. God proposes, Man disposes - you are right, it should be the other way round.
The albatross hanging around Kong Hee's neck is that in 2003, member Roland Poon accused the church leadership of misusing funds to fuel Ho's aspirations and ended up paying for retraction apologies in The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News and The New Paper. Denying Poon’s allegations, Kong Hee stated then that "no church funds had been used for Ho’s pop career promotion, and that it was normal practice for the church to support and celebrate the secular success of its members".
There's good reason why DPM Teo Chee Hean took pains to highlight that the charges filed by CAD are against five individuals, and not the City Harvest Church itself. Unless the public prosecutor does a good job - please do consult the NKF court transcript - this one could turn ugly.
|The Gospel truth according to Pastor Kong Hee|