Thursday, June 16, 2011

Church head warns elders to stay silent



THE Evangelical Lutheran church of Papua New Guinea head bishop Rev Giegere Wenge has warned elders not to make any comments regarding the dealings of laymen involved in making changes to Investment Promotion Authority records, The National reports.

He said it was a court matter and would be dealt with by the judiciary.

He said church elders should not go to the media as they would be in contempt.

"No press conferences or telephone interviews will be held to say or reveal anything to the press until such time we decide to," he said.

He also said that other matters regarding developments of the church can only be released by the church council.

Wenge issued the warning at the ELC-PNG council meeting yesterday after The National cited court files in 0S441 of 2010 which stated that Lutheran laymen had made changes to church business without the approval of the council.

Named in the files were church secretary Albert Tokave, finance secretary James Pena, German financial adviser Lothar Stock, Jabem district representatives Ben Woo and Titi Solomon for their part in the church's trust company, ELCPNG Nominees, and business arm Kambang Holdings.

They are being accused of misleading the church council while operating as board members of ELC­PNG Nominees "without lawful authority".

Article 13 of the nominees by-laws restricts all laymen, except district presidents, from being members of the trust company's board, the court files stated.

The news report stating the court files had shaken the church council with several district presidents from the Highlands saying the media had no right to interfere in church affairs.

But many Lutherans across the nation called The National saying that "truth and righteousness must prevail in the affairs of the church".

Yesterday a pastor who called tried to make comments supporting the five-laymen but he was told that his comments could not be reported and he may have to file an affidavit as the case was before the court.

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