Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-Claims of mismanagement of church property and unaccounted funds amounting to nearly N$400,000, are driving a wedge between members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s Hosiana Parish in Walvis Bay.
A meeting with church members was called to get to the bottom of the allegations yesterday afternoon at the coastal town.
Chairperson of the church management comittee, Johannes Kapembe, yesterday confirmed to New Era that a meeting was expected to take place yesterday evening with high ranking church officials to present their findings with regards to the allegations.
“I cannot comment on the issue as the meeting still has to take place and I also don’t know what exactly will be discussed seeing that all members of the church are invited to the meeting,” Kapembe said
New Era over the weekend heard that about N$400,000 is allegedly missing or unaccounted for at the church and that several people, including a former secretary of the church, have been questioned in the past.
Some members are also accusing their pastor Immanuel Mberiri and several elders of the church of squandering parish funds.
The irregularities were initially uncovered last year and according to some members, Mberiri was given an ultimatum to leave the church by December 31 last year. He allegedly agreed but later changed his mind and decided to stay on.
Contacted yesterday afternoon for comment, Mberiri said that he was unable to comment on the allegations yet, citing the upcoming meeting.
“I can only respond to your queries based on the outcome of the meeting,” he told New Era.
New Era was also told that the alleged irregularities also caused division among church leaders as some of them feel that legal steps must be taken against the guilty person or persons, while others feel that the the issue should be handled internally.
“If the matter remains unresolved after tonight’s meeting, we will really have to consider legal action against the guilty parties,” said a church member.
Bishop Erenst //Gamxamub could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was travelling to the coast.