The Court of Appeal has dismissed a bid by prosecutors to reinstate the original convictions of City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and his Gang of Frauds, which would have meant longer jail terms for them.
This means that the Gang will continue serving their reduced jail terms of between 1.5 to 3.5 years for misusing some S$50 million of church funds.
Kong Hee and his Gang of Frauds had had their jail terms halved upon appeal last April:
Kong Hee – 8 years to 3.5 years
Serina Wee – 5 years to 2.5 years
Tan Ye Peng – 5.5 years to 3 years and 2 months
Chew Eng Han – 6 years to 3 years and 4 months
John Lam – 3 years to 1.5 years
Sharon Tan – 21 months to 7 months.
Sharon Tan, CHC’s former finance manager, has completed her 7-month sentence and is now a free woman.
Former fund manager Chew Eng Han, has been out on bail and has been granted his request to start serving his jail term after the Chinese New Year holidays this year.
This decision by the 5-member Court of Appeal hinges on the interpretation of provisions in the Penal Code governing criminal breach of trust offences, has wider implications for future misappropriation cases.
Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang, in reading the decision, said that if there is any gap in the law, the shaping of the remedy should be left to Parliament.
“A hard case should not be allowed to make bad law.”
The other judges included Judge of Appeal Judith Prakash, and Justices Belinda Ang, Quentin Loh and Chua Lee Ming.