Pastor Kong Hee, the founder of the Asian mega-church City Harvest Church (CHC) in Singapore is asking for prayers "during this difficult time" of his life following his conviction of funneling more than $35.5 million in church donations to fund the singing career of his wife Sun Ho. Kong is convicted of fraud with five other CHC founder and could face up to 20 years in prison.
However, Ho, who has appeared in music videos together with model Tyson Beckford and former Fugees member Wyclef, not been charged with any wrongdoing in connection with the multi-million dollar fraud.
Kong posted a lengthy Facebook message told the more than 20,000 members of the CHC to pray for him and his family during this difficult time.
He writes, "My family and I are continually assured and strengthened by the love and support shown to us during this entire time. We thank you for your prayers and encouragement, as they mean a lot to us. Please keep praying for me and those involved in the trial, for our families, and especially for the congregation of City Harvest Church, which I love so dearly with all my heart.
"The days and steps ahead are challenging, but with God's grace and love, I have no fear. The Lord Jesus, my Good Shepherd, will lead and guide. I will obey, I will follow, by faith."
After a lengthy trial, a court in Singapore convicted Kong and five others with three counts of criminal breach of trust by funneling CHC funds to finance the singing career of his wife. The court said the accused have misappropriated at least $17 million in church funds for Ho's singing career. Another $18.5 million was spent to cover up the scheme by using a complex system of bond issuance and 'round-tripping' transactions using the church's own money to payoff debt owed to the CHC itself, reported Christian Today.
But Kong denied the accusations leveled against him throughout the trial. He told the court that the CHC supported his with through the "Crossover" project, which was aimed at promoting Christian songs in the secular music industry and at the same time share the Gospel through Ho's songs.
However, Judge See disagreed. He said in his ruling that the "perceived success of Crossover was inflated," and that those convicted fooled themselves into thinking that "it was both morally and legally permissible to temporarily use the money from CHC's funds when they knew it was not."
The judge added, "Each of them participated and functioned in their own way as crucial cogs in the machinery."
Ho also issued a statement on Singapore City Harvest Church's website shortly after the court verdict, urging the 20,000-member congregation to continue praying for Kong and the five other church leaders convicted of fraud.
"The judge has rendered his decision, and naturally, we are disappointed by the outcome," wrote Ho. "The protracted season has been extremely difficult, not just for the six, but also for their families and friends, as well as our congregation."