22 Aug 2002

Call for an audit into Fiji's Methodist Church's finances gathers strength

11:12 am on 22 August 2002

A prominent hotelier and indigenous businessman in Fiji has called for an audit into the financial affairs of the Methodist Church.

Radike Qere-qere-tabua says his call is in support of a former Methodist leader who has also demanded an audit into the Church's finances.

Mr Qere-qere-tabua says villagers are coerced by church leaders to donate set amounts of money and there is little evidence of how the funds are used.

He says that in his own province of Kadavu the church had collected in a year, two million US dollars.

Mr Qere-qere-tabua says many either go into debt or leave their villages to avoid shame inflicted by pastors who during their church services announce who has or has not contributed and by how much.

He says he objects to the coercion and that the church should open up it's financial books for scrutiny.

"The villages who have very little source of income, are just told, what they will give a year.there's no discussion and there has not been any audited account for many years and we know that we have contributed millions of dollars and how it's used we don't know."

Radike Qere-qere-tabua

Fiji's Methodist Church has reacted by saying that the church asks people to voluntarily donate what they can.