The National, Thursday, May 12, 2011
By RIGGO NANGAN
MOROBE Governor Luther Wenge has branded the Evangelical Lutheran church management as “shady and untrustworthy”.
Wenge made the remarks in Port Moresby yesterday where he was attending parliament session following a call by the former church secretary Isaac Theo, who demanded a public apology from the governor.
Wenge had accused Theo of not providing an audit report on how the K19,000 given to the church by the Morobe provincial government to support the groundwork for the proposed Lutheran University had been used.
Theo said Wenge had accused him of not providing a report on the use of the money but the money had never been given to him.
He said the money had been given to then church secretary Fuac Singin and church education secretary Bravy Tovika (now deceased).
Wenge said the money was given to the church and Theo, as secretary, would know about how it was used.
He said Theo should have a report prepared and submitted to him and the Morobe provincial government.
“How can I apologise for giving someone a huge amount of money and then not getting a feedback?” Wenge asked.
He said it did not really matter who received the money because the church had admitted receiving it.
He said there had to be a report from the church so the provincial treasury had a proper record of its own for audit purposes.
Wenge said the church “has a trend of not being accountable for money given to it by others”.
He said his government had given K100,000 to the church for the funeral arrangements for the late bishop, Dr Wesley Kigasung, two years ago when Theo was church secretary but there had never been a proper report on that as well.
Wenge said it was bad for the church’s reputation because donors would not want to keep giving.
“I do not trust the management of the church headquarters at Ampo. Either they do not know their job or they have a management problem,” Wenge said.
He said donors like the national government, Morobe provincial government and others would be giving their donations to the Lutheran University establishment committee and not the church headquarters at Ampo.
“The money given was the money of the people of Morobe and the people need to know how their money is spent,” he said.
“The apology must come from the church for not providing reports on these monies.”