BY MELODY ZACCHEUS
Pop singer Ho Yeow Sun received more than half a million in bonuses and advances, including a $30,000 birthday cash gift and an $80,000 "special performance bonus for hits in the US or the United Kingdom" in 2006.
But to divert attention from some of these extra takings, leaders of City Harvest Church allegedly doctored documents to show that sponsors had given the money to her as "personal gifts".
These details emerged on the first day of the second leg of the trial involving six church leaders accused of misusing millions of church funds. The high-profile trial had resumed after a three- month break.
Yesterday, prosecutors tried to show that Ms Ho's former management company, Xtron Productions, was a puppet company controlled by the church's leadership, including founder Kong Hee, who is her husband.
The State is accusing the six of using Xtron and another firm, Firna, to funnel $24 million of church funds into paying for Ms Ho's secular pop music career, and then misappropriating another $26 million to cover that up.
Like at the first part of the trial in May, supporters started lining up outside the Subordinate Courts from as early as 4am for a spot in the 80-seater public gallery in Court 3.
A solemn Ms Ho showed up in court, hand-in-hand with her smiling husband for the first half of the day's proceedings.
One of the accused, Chew Eng Han, a church stalwart and its investment manager who had quit in June, kept his distance from the rest. He did not speak to the other five in the dock, and stood aside from them during breaks.
The trial continues today and prosecution witness Choong Kar Weng, Xtron's director and long- time church member, is expected to take the stand again.
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