Tampering With God’s Cash
2006-09-27 00:27:02This article has been read 1062 times.The canker of corruption appears to have successfully transcended the political territories where it had established itself as an endemic bane and is now making waves in the religious domain as has happened in the Tamale Circuit of the Methodist Church, where the Supt. Minister has found himself in what can be described as web of scandals.
Church documents of the Methodist Church indicate that monies made available to the Tamale Circuit of the church for chapel projects and other monies belonging to the circuit, have not been properly accounted for, making the Church raise several issues against Very Rev. George Annor Darko, the Superintendent Minister in charge of the Circuit, who is also the Synod Secretary of the Northern Diocese of the Church and thus acts as the one in charge of the Bishopric when the Bishop is absent.
A Post-Audit briefing report signed by the Rt. Rev. J. K. Atto Brown, the Bishop in charge of the Northern Diocese of the Church made adverse findings against the Supt. Minister as far as the drawing of his monthly allowances are concerned.
The document, sighted by The Chronicle shows that the Synod Secretary had been enjoying some abnormal monthly allowances. “The audit exercise of the Tamale Circuit accounts has revealed that you have allocated to yourself certain allowances unapproved by the Church, either at the Circuit/Society or the Connexional levels,” the document stated and highlighted the specifics, which show that Synod Secretary was enjoying millions of cedis in excess of his approved remuneration.
Other findings contained in an audit Inspection report on the circuit from January 1, 2004 to June 30, 2006 reveals that the Superintendent Minister has been grabbing monies belonging to the Church with both hands.
Records indicate that on January 2, this year, the Bethel Society of the Church Sponsored Rev. Darko to Cape Coast for a Ministers’ meeting (F. K) to the tune of ¢2,870,000.
This included ¢1,500,000 allocation for fuel for the trip. While this amount may be considered mouth-watering for such a trip, the Superintendent Minister went ahead to receive another ¢2,100,000 from the circuit as being money to buy fuel for the same trip.
The acts of financial impropriety against the man of God seem to have no end. It was gathered that in the latter part of 2005, two separate amounts of ¢45,000,000 each were issued to Rev. Darko, to be lodged into the Bank accounts of the Savelugu and Buipe societies of the Church, for church projects in those societies.
It was subsequently found out that despite the express caution given that the monies should be paid into the accounts of the respective societies, the “Man of God” decided to turn his Manse into a bank and kept the entire ¢90,000,000 at his house without sending it to the bank, thereby contravening Standing Order 653 (1) b, c and d of the Church. The steward to the Supt. Minister also confirmed to an audit team that payment vouchers were not issued to cover the disbursements.
Further scrutiny of Church documents shows that the Supt. Minister did not only flout the rules for keeping the money, he could not also remain clean and Godly with the disbursement of the money.
On May 31, Rev. Darko and the circuit Steward, Paul Adjei Duah presented a report on the Savelugu building project. In that report, the two also presented a statement of account on the project in which it was indicated that the ¢45,000,000 had been completely exhausted.
Following the report from the two circuit leaders, the leaders of the Savelugu Society wrote to the Diocesan Bishop on June 7, to register their protest against what they considered as false claims in the statement of account presented by the circuit leaders.
The Savelugu leaders pointed out that some works that had already been done on the project with some ¢28,000,000 from the Society’s own account had been captured in Rev. Darko’s statement as being part of the works on which the ¢45,000,000 was spent.
The Savelugu leaders also revealed that even though Rev. Darko had indicated in his statement that ‘long span’ iron sheets were bought for roofing the Church, the roofing was done with the normal roofing sheets and not the long span brand, which is more expensive.
Having been exposed by the Society leaders, Rev. Darko and his Circuit Steward prepared another statement which captured the ¢28,000,000 from the society.
The handling of monies meant for the Buipe project was not different.
Here too, the “Man of God” and his Steward, presented the statement of account covering the entire ¢45,000,000. Like their colleagues in Savelugu, leaders of the Buipe Society of the church also smelt a rat and also presented what they considered to be the real statement of account of the work that had been done on their chapel project. The statement of account from the Buipe Church leaders indicated that the total expenditure on the project was, ¢26,298,000.
When Rev. Darko was first contacted on the issues raised in the documents against him, he pleaded that he should be called five days later, since according to him, the leadership of the church was still into some form of investigations to ascertain the truth or otherwise of the issues raised against him.
He assured The Chronicle that after the five days, he would be able to speak to the issues since, according to him, the committee that was investigating the matter would have finished by that time.
When he was called the following week (after the five days) as he told this reporter to do, he could not still tell his side of the story and only said that he was packing his things to leave for his home in Kumasi.
When Rt. Rev. J. K. Atto Brown was contacted, he confirmed that there had been some financial misappropriation on the part of the Synod Secretary. The Bishop told the paper that the misappropriation of the funds had put him in an uncomfortable position because he would have to render accounts on the entire monies, which was released to the Diocese by The Mission Society of the United States of America for church projects in some parts of the Northern sector, including the Savelugu and Buipe church projects.
The Bishop also refuted the claim by the Synod Secretary that there were fresh investigations into the issues. “It is not true that fresh investigations were being conducted into the issues. The investigations have been completed and as far as I am concerned, there is no other investigations after those investigations that were conducted by our auditors from Headquarters,” the Diocesan Bishop said and added that his quest to ensure transparency in the administration of the Tamale Circuit had resulted in problems between him and the Rev. Annor Darko.