Ho Yeow Sun, also known as Sun Ho, a pop singer and co-founder of City Harvest Church in Singapore, testified on Tuesday regarding the case filed against her husband and church co-founder Kong Hee and five other church leaders. It was the first time she took the stand since the trial began.
CHC leaders are being investigated regarding the alleged misuse of church funds to support Ho's career through a supposed evangelical program called the Crossover Project and to finance her eventual break-in to Hollywood through an unreleased U.S. album.
According to Ho, the Crossover Project was meant to advance the mission of the church and not her career. She claimed that her music, through the Crossover Project, have impacted people like Jay Chou and Rachel Liang to embrace Christianity. Ho believed that the project was a success.
When asked about her upcoming U.S. album, Ho said she was not involved in planning the budget but she had an idea that it was to be "in line with those of Shakira's," Today Online reported. She confirmed that her husband, CHC senior pastor Kong, was one of the people who determined the budget.
The pop singer testified that she had always believed her music would be a big hit in the U.S., considering the involvement of top producers in her first album. She said she was expecting multimillion sales for the album, saying, "I always remember Wyclef Jean mentioning multimillions, so that is the number in my heart that I was working towards," according to Today Online.
The planned release for the album was August 2010, but in May of the same year, investigations for the said misuse of money from the church had started. To this day, the album has not been launched, although Ho maintained it is just temporarily put off.
Chew Eng Han, former investment manager of CHC and one of the accused, said earlier in the trial that he noticed only in recent years that the information about Ho's singing career had been falsified. He claimed that Kong intentionally did not disclose the real condition of the ailing Crossover Project.
Chew also contradicted Ho's claim that her five Mandarin albums sold four million copies, which would mean that each album had an average sales of at least 800,000 copies. Ho's first album sold merely 210,000 copies, according to financial statements from Ho's managing company Xtron productions, that Chew showed in court.
"There was no way you would have believed that the albums sold four million copies," said Chew, Channel News Asia reported.
Sun Yuen Peng, a former member of CHC, also testified that she and her husband invested $350,000 in bonds for Xtron and were promised a return of 4 percent in one and a half years. They never got a return; instead, they were told to put their trust in their leaders.
"One of the pastors said we should not be suspicious of our leaders. We should trust [them]. We should not have any queries," Sun said, according to Today Online.
Sun also said they heard about Ho's luxurious lifestyle. "We had only negative news about Sun Ho, that she was living in a big bungalow," The Straits Times reported.
The six accused church leaders, which excludes Ho herself, are said to have channeled an estimated $24 million church building funds and used $26 million church funds to cover up the deficit to help Ho's shaky career. They may face 20 years in prison if convicted.