Corruption Rocks SDA Church
The Seventh Day Adventist Church in Liberia seems to be engulfed in serious financial scandal, including alleged misappropriation of subsidy from government, illegal sale of Church properties, and committing the institution to huge debt.
The head of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Union Mission in West Africa, Pastor James Goley has been accused by Church members of dishonesty and misappropriation of funds.
The SDA Union Mission in West Africa comprised of Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Pastor Goley and the head of the SDA Church in Liberia, Pastor Rufus K. Freeman, are both linked to the alleged scandal that seems to be rocking the foundation of the Church. Pastor Goley is accused of mortgaging the Church’s properties and taking a US$1.5 million loan from Eco-Bank Liberia, Limited without the approval of church members.
He is said to have unilaterally taken the money from the bank to construct a university in Liberia for the Seventh Day Adventist School System. Reports say since he took the loan in August 2012, there has been no sign of construction of even a high school here.
Documents obtained by The NewDawn disclosed that the first instalment in paying the loan is US$200,000, which is due in September 2013. But Church members argued that since the loan was taken from the bank, there has not been any development in the Church.
Pastor Rufus K. Freeman, head of SDA-Liberia, who is deputy to Pastor Goley confirmed recently that his boss (Pastor Goley) took the loan from Eco-Bank Liberia, but declined making further comments on the matter, on grounds that he lacks the authority to elaborate.
Sources from the SDA Church revealed that Pastor Goley has allegedly sold the Church’s property situated in Congo Town adjacent the SOS Clinic without the knowledge of Church members.
He is also accused of manipulating the elections that brought Pastor Freeman to power as head of SDA-Liberia, and some Church members have noted that Freeman is only serving as head of the SDA here, but Pastor Goley actually runs the day-to-day affairs of the Church in Liberia.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church in Liberia is said to be an independent body that runs its own affairs without the West African Union Mission. Pastor Goley reportedly resides in the country because Liberia hosts the headquarters of the SDA West African Mission.
When contacted, Pastor Goley refused to comment, arguing that he does not know his accusers. He, however, referred reporters to Pastor Freeman, who in his report to the Church for 2012 omitted all subsidies from the Government of Liberia to the SDA School System, failing to account for such money.
Speaking to the media on the allegation against him, Pastor Freeman however, admitted that the SDA Church has received subsidy from government since 2010. He indicated that the money for Konola was used to construct a dormitory, purchase generator and pay teachers’ salaries.