Church staff probed

The Straits Times, Singapore/May 31, 2010

A day after City Harvest Church completed a massive five-day seminar which involved 30,000 people including foreign evangelists, police rounded up several individuals linked to the church for alleged misuse of church funds.

The 17 people who are 'assisting police with investigations' included the megachurch's founder and Senior Pastor Kong Hee, who was picked up early Monday morning.

Police also took away financial records and computers from the homes and offices of the people involved. They did not say what offences they were investigating.

A joint statement by the Commissioner of Charities and the Commercial Affairs Department said they were investigating 'several individuals and companies, related or connected' to the church. The four-paragraph statement said the Commissioner had received complaints of misuse of church funds. It looked into the matter and decided that the police should get into the picture.

The authorities gave the assurance that the church's normal services and religious activities 'need not be disrupted and can continue for its congregation'.

Responding to queries, the Commisioner said the financial transactions being investigated are not related to, nor intiated by, the church's controversial $310million stake in Suntec City which was announced in March. 'The two are separate matters,' said the COC.

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