The EFKS Church is forced to write off $4.3m tala on the cost to renovations initially carried out from 2013 to 2016 on the Ioane Viliamu 6-storey building, Tamaligi.
The renovations had to be re-done all over again under a new plan re-drawn for the building, the delegates of the conference heard on Monday.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee of the EFKS, and Member of the Council of Deputies, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia explained to delegates inside the Malua ‘Fono Tele’ that the original quote for the renovations was $3 million but now more than $8 million has been spent.
He added that the audited accounts have shown that $4 million and 368 thousand tala have been written off.
He said it is clearly stated in the Auditors Report “ part of the building which was renovated from the years 2013 to 2016 have been dismantled and the plan for the renovation of the John Williams Building has been changed.”
“This is not a small amount,” Le Mamea said. “ This is money from the sweat of our church members.”
Le Mamea also pointed out another church project- the Jubliee Church with the original cost budgeted at $7.2 million but it ended up costing $18 million leaving a huge debt for the Church.
Le Mamea was forced to give a detailed explanation on the cost of the development projects, in response to reports appearing in the newspapers where his name was quoted on the renovations of the Ioane Viliamu Building.
Delegates from the Apia Sasa’e Parish took issue with the Chairman of the Finance Committee talking to media about the renovations, when it is the decision by the General Conference that only the General Secretary of the Church can make public church matters.
The discussion started with the Komiti o Feau Eseese (Committee Working Committee), not happy with the Finance Committee blaming them for the problems in the spending of the church finances .
The Working Committee did not take kindly to the words used “ reckless spending” by the Chairman of the Finance Committee.
The words were in a written statement read out by the General Secretary.
Le Mamea as the Chairman of the Finance Committee responded to the concerns raised.
Le Mamea said he is aware of the policy but he felt that these matters must be made transparent because the money involved come from the church members. It was also in keeping with the Samoan saying “ole fetalai o le tofa” or the sharing of wisdom.
He said that it hurts to see money from the church members not spent wisely.
“It is very clear in the constitution of the church that it is the role of the Finance Committee to advise the Working Committee that plans on spending the church finances should be laid before the church and how much should be spent on each project.”
Mamea pointed out that the budget of some of the projects like the Jubilee Church and the renovations of the John Williams Building were under estimated.
The budget for the Jubliee Church was $7.2 million but it ended up costing $18 million . For the John Williams the cost for the renovations was $3 million but now more than $8 million has been spent. “ This money comes from the sweat of the church members.”
Mamea said he was asked about this by the newspapers and they wanted information because it was not forth coming from the relevant church official.
He said that people should be informed about these matters. “ It’s for transparency. Why should these matters be hidden. They should be explained to the people because it’s the sweat of the people.”
Le Mamea also explained that the words used in the newspaper article “ “reckless spending” were not his words they were the words of the newspaper concerned , Besides the interview was held in Samoa and he used the word “ fa’atamala.”
The General Secretary, Rev Vavatau Taufao said he informed the newspapers that if they want to interview him they would have to do that infront of the EFKS Television. He has made that decision because in the past newspapers were not accurate in reporting what was said in their interviews.
The conference closes this Friday.