Controversial mega church founder Kong Hee's pop-star wife will testify in an embezzlement case in which Hee is accused of misusing millions in church funds to finance his wife's career.
Sun Ho, who serves as Singapore's City Harvest Church executive director, will offer her testimony in what Channel News Asia calls "one of the longest-running criminal trials" in the nation.
Earlier this year, prosecutors accused Hee of conspiring to misuse nearly 24 million dollars of donated church money, which was intended for building expenses.
Others also named in the case include Pastor Tan Ye Peng, members Chew Eng Han and Lam Leng Hung, and accountants Serina Wee Gek Yin and Sharon Tan Shao Yuen.
Four of the accused six are accused of misusing 26.6 million Singapore dollars to cover up the previous transactions. All involved may face 10-20 years if found guilty.
Founded in 1989, City Harvest Church boasts of nearly 20,000 members, making it one of the country's largest and fastest growing churches. According to the Wall Street Journal, the case has "stoked debate over the growing wealth and influence of megachurches in the multi-religious city-state," as Singapore is known its societal harmony.
Charges against Hee and his associates were filed in 2012 after a two-year investigation conducted by Singapore's commissioner of charities and the police. The trial began in May last year, and the prosecution concluded its case after 42 days over a nine-month period.
According to allegations, Hee and six others took money from the church's Building Fund to Xtron Productions and glassware firm Firna (PT The First National Glassware) for the purpose of funding Ho's singing career.
In addition, prosecutors produced evidence to prove that the money was moved from the church to the various firms to create a false appearance that the church's investments were redeemed.
However, Ho has been cleared of all charges.
According to Channel NewsAsia, defense lawyers are likely to "argue that the six accused never acted with dishonest intent, and there was no intent to mislead or conceal information." The lawyers may also argue that the "bonds entered into were genuine investments and transactions with no monetary loss to the church and that the transactions had been checked with lawyers and auditors to ensure their legitimacy."
Following this week, the trial will not resume again until August and is expected to conclude in September.