Give to Caesar what is Caesar's

Starting right about one month ago in March, City Harvest Church announced that it was about to pump $310 million as a bid to take control of Suntec Singapore. Woah! The funds were presumably drawn from the tithing if its willing congregation. Then the Commissioner of Charities became interested and poked his Roman nose into the matter and wanted to smell whether something was fishy. In a nutshell, charities and religious organisations are not taxed but the twist is that CHC, supposedly without a proxy, was getting directly into the real estate business using its donation money, and thus might escape taxes on the profits because of its “charity” status.  A perfect fish and loaves money growing formula-miracle and the anxious IRAS was not sure what to do.

About 3 weeks later and not immediately, 1 or 2 weeks after the controversy started which tells a lot to conspiracy theorists,  CHC cleared its throat finally and explained. There was a CHC subsidiary company, not CHC itself, that bought into Suntec Singapore, so all is cool and legal, and that’s Gospel.  A CHC member, careful to say that he is no Doubting Thomas, was puzzled on the lack of transparency and accountability and made it known to the authorities. Oh oh. Blind faith was just not that appropriate here. What is this CHC holding company that was only later brought up? Was it was hurriedly frogmarched into the Suntec deal as an afterthought, or worse, created only after all the hoohaa ripped in March? Heh.

CHC has since dismissed that it could not be more transparent to its congregation and us pesky pagan public as it had a legal non-disclosure agreement with its fellow investors in the Suntec deal. So shame on us for setting the lions on CHC. They have also tried to turn the tide and indignantly fumed that the request for transparency among some CHC members sabotaged CHC’s quest to look for more space like Suntec Singapore to corral its flock. Oh well. As a taxpayer, my parting words on churches thinking about the taxman.

“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s…..”

Yo Caesar dude, everything is kosher. Are we cool?

Yo Caesar dude, everything is kosher. Are we cool?

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4 Responses to “Give to Caesar what is Caesar's”

  1. The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Daily SG: 8 Apr 2010 Says:

    […] – The Void Deck: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s [Thanks BZH] – The Grand Moofti Speaks: Singapore’s latest landmark: Suntec […]

  2. George Says:

    Chinese Expression -‘不 男 不 女’, literally, not male not female.
    This aptly describe the situation, the dilemma that Kong Hee finds himself. Something of his own making, no doubt.

    Agreed, why shouldn’t it have been disclosed from the very start. After 3 weeks, when the world was made in one.

    To lie successfully, one must lie competently, not taking your listeners intelligence for granted by insulting them thus.

  3. Curious Says:

    Is a charity allowed to form a subsidiary for the purpose of commercial venture? Members of the church are not exactly shareholders of the church.

  4. The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Weekly Roundup: Week 15 Says:

    […] City Harvest Church got legal reminder from investors to keep quiet on Suntec deal – The Void Deck: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s [Thanks BZH] – The Grand Moofti Speaks: Singapore’s latest landmark: Suntec Cathedral – Temasek […]

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