A megachurch pastor in Singapore has been sentenced to eight years in prison for misappropriating church donations to support his wife’s singing career.
ABC News reports that Kong Hee, founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church in Singapore, was found guilty of using over $35 million in church donations to fund his wife, popstar HO Yeow Sun’s, career.
Prosecutors said that Kong, along with five other church leaders, placed 24 million Singapore dollars ($17 million) into sham bond investments so that the money could actually be used for Ho’s career.
Kong and the other church leaders also used another 26 million Singapore dollars ($18 million) to cover up the first embezzlement from auditors.
Kong and other City Harvest supporters have argued that the church was supporting Ho’s career in order to draw more people to the church, but Judge See Kee Onn dismissed this claim.
“This trial did not concern mere lapses of corporate governance," the judge made clear "They were effectively putting (church) funds into their own hands, to be used as they needed."
Many members of City Harvest were present in the courtroom and continue to support Kong and maintain his innocence.
Publication date: November 20, 2015