Graft rife in SDA church leadership, say rebels

In Summary

• According to the group, property worth Sh1 billion belonging to Seventh Day Adventist Church has been fraudulently sold, claims a section of Nairobi Central SDA Church leaders.

Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference members Sammy Masara (chairman), Humphrey Macharia and Enock Kinara at Wednesday's press briefing.
A LUTA CONTINUA: Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference members Sammy Masara (chairman), Humphrey Macharia and Enock Kinara at Wednesday's press briefing.

The problem at the Central Kenya Conference revolves around corruption and embezzlement of church resources, a rebel SDA group claims.

The separatist Nairobi Cosmopolitan Conference on Wednesday said 15 of its members were removed from the church register for challenging the church leadership over graft and embezzlement of resources.

The NCC members accused CKC leaders of dragging their organisation into the leadership crisis at the Nairobi Central SDA Church in their (CKC's) August 12 press conference.

They, through chairman Sammy Masara, claimed that they were being victimised for exposing corruption and injustice in the church.

Masara said property worth Sh1 billion belonging to the church has been fraudulently sold. The claim was denied by Nairobi Central SDA leaders.

The group identified the properties as, among others, land, real estate, and commercial buildings in Nairobi and other parts of the country.

“Why do you take upon yourselves to sell what you never bought?” Masara asked.

He argued that the purpose of removing a member from the church register is supposed to be ‘redemptive’ not ‘condemnatory’.

The Masara group said they were purportedly removed from the church register because they have been highlighting and stopping fraudulent activities in the church leadership.

“A good example is the intended sale of a prime church property in Kileleshwa worth Sh200 million which was forestalled by these members and had the sale eventually cancelled,” 

They claimed there were forgery and misrepresentation of material facts in that matter, prompting the DCI to launch investigations.

Masara said SDA institutions such as schools, colleges, universities and health facilities are run down due to corruption and nepotism.

He claimed the institutions have become cash cows for self-enrichment of leaders.

Masara said efforts by church members to have the leadership impunity addressed have fallen on deaf ears.

“We are dealing with an entrenched web of high-level corruption, manipulation of church elections at all levels. This is what NCC is fighting,” he said.

Masara complained of ethnic profiling of members at various units and levels of the church administration.

He said the Kisii make up more than 65 per cent of the Adventist population in Kenya yet they are systematically targeted and excluded from church management.

According to Masara, the community contributed more than 70 per cent of the resources but the control and management is now in the hands of a few families in a community that makes up less than 10 per cent of Kenyan Adventists.

“These families are in prime leadership positions at all levels beginning from the local conference, the union, the division up to the General Conference in the USA,” he said.

Masara said the NCC gives all those concerned by how the SDA Church affairs are managed a legal platform to engage not only with the current leadership and the government but also with members and the general public.

The Masara group urged the faithful to continue fighting corrupt leaders.

They demanded the resignation of leaders at all levels of the church for failing to fix the problems.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya