SDA pastors ‘loot’ church coffers of K4.5 million
Two Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church pastors and one Elder on the Copperbelt have been removed from their positions over a financial scandal involving close to K5 million
Within eight months of being appointed, Pastors Webster Chabe and Chifumbe Kapenya along with Elder Harry Harawa are said to have helped themselves to K4.5 million of church money in form of allowances.
Dissatisfied with the K10,000 they were getting as allowances for their work, the three pork-shunning men of cloth are said to have gone out of their way to approve several allowances for themselves, contrary to North Zambia Union Conference financial guidelines.
Several sources and church members from the SDA Copperbelt Conference told Kalemba that in order to increase their allowances, the three men of God created trips for themselves as if they were implementing CDF projects.
The sources revealed that instead of waiting for the Conference to approve their allowances, the trio cleared the allowances themselves.
“This is despite being given free accommodation, fuel and phone credit,” the source said.
This extent of the looting only came to light last Monday when the union visited their offices for the end year executive committee meeting.
Soon after the meeting, Harawa was removed from his position as Chief Financial Officer while pastors Chabe and Kapenya
await full audit results to know their fate.
When contacted for a comment on the matter, Harawa confirmed that the union had found that about K5 million was misused but that the money was used for church works.
Harawa explained that in the absence of the donors that usually sponsored new pastors, the conference decided to use the money in the coffers to give the new pastors their allowances which amounted to the said amount.
“When I was appointed as CFO, I decided that the church should not entirely depend on donors for resources. So we opted to use the money from the members to pay the pastors. So the money was not plundered as it is being put, it was used for the church works. And as for me, I was not fired, I requested for my resignation from the union which was approved by the Copperbelt Zambia Conference Executive Committee. I did so so that the church could begin new works with a new CFO. And later, they deployed me again as an officer. Now how can they deploy me again if indeed I stole?,” said Elder Harawa.
As for Pastor Chabe, he said the stories of misuse of funds were just malicious stories against him while his colleague Pastor Kapenya refused to comment on the matter.
By Buumba Mwitumwa (Kalemba )