Pastors to have accountability measures in place: Dr Mohenoa Puloka

A leader of Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, Dr Mohenoa Puloka is taking steps to stamp out misuse of church money following the church’s auditor general findings of US$342,000 to have been allegedly misappropriated by 8 pastors.

Dr Mohenoa Puloka told local newspaper that he will put forward a motion in their coming synod to insulate pastors from financial matters.

The church will have its annual conference on June 25 and Dr Puloka says he will make a motion that all parishes’ financial matters be handled by their local parish councils meaning the pastors would touch no money and would have no check-signing authorization.

The accused including one pastor from ‘Eua, one from Vava’u and the others from Nuku’alofa have misused their church money ranging from alleged forging of cheques, embezzlement and failing to keep record of transactions and receipts.

One case dated back to 2005 and when Puloka was questioned by the paper for why was it taking so long before any action made he says it was due to the church’s culture of “waiting till such time” but this time they have to do something and no more waiting

Uniting Church of Australia will send an audit to review the church audit report, he told the paper.

The pastors still remained with their parishes but on suspension ground awaiting further decisions when they will appear before a church advisory panel during the annual conference towards the end of this month.

The pastors denied any wrongdoing with the church money but one of them is reported to have paid back TOP$4049.89.

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