The Commissioner of Charities (COC) in Singapore issued a Statement on April 9, clarifying its proposal to remove eight individuals from their positions in City Harvest Church, including church founder Kong Hee.
This will be part of the next stage of its ongoing inquiry into the church, which was instituted in May 2010, into the charity.
The eight people include Pastor Kong Hee, Pastor Tan Ye Peng, Serina Wee, Sharon Tan, John Lam, Chew Eng Han, Teo Meng How and Jacqueline Tan.
The COC has given notice to these individuals and invited them to make representations on his proposal. All representations to the COC have to be made by 13 May.
Removal from their positions means that the eight leaders will have their executive memberships in City Harvest terminated, and they will be banned from resuming their memberships for at least two years.
The COC noted, however, that these removal proceedings occur independently of the ongoing criminal trial that involves Kong, Lam, Tan Ye Peng, Sharon Tan, Chew and Wee.
Last June, the six church officials were charged with misappropriating at least S$23 million (US$18.6 million) from their parish and falsifying accounts to cover it up. The accused have yet to enter a plea in the case.
The statement from the COC also said that Pastors Kong and Tan can continue to perform their pastoral duties, which it noted are separate from the holding of governance or management positions within the church.
Responding to the COC's announcement, Kong said in a statement from his lawyers that he is confident that there is no basis for the COC’s actions, and will approach them with representations on the matter in due course.
The management board of City Harvest Church says it has been notified of the COC's intention to remove eight individuals from their office.
In a statement, Aries Zulkarnain, the executive pastor and chairman of the management board, says “This is a very challenging time for our eight Church leaders and members, their families, and our Church. Please continue to pray ceaselessly for them and for the Church.”
He also reminded the congregations of what the advisory chairman Dr AR Bernard exhorted them, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12 ESV)