Friday, January 15, 2010

Methodist Church Ministers Named

Fiji Methodist church Ministers named as behind church conference banned until 2014 - 14 January 2010

Four Methodist Church officials in Fiji have been identified as people behind the cancellation of the church’s annual conference for the next four years.

Permanent Secretary for Information, Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni said Government had been reliably informed that the four senior church officials are “a stumbling block to the church’s progress”.

“The continuing involvement of the church leadership in political affairs is the reason behind Government’s decision not to allow the annual conference until after 2014,” Lieutenant-Colonel Leweni said.

He said the group consisted of church president Reverend Ame Tugaue, general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, Viliame Gonelevu and Livai Tuisagavere.

He said the Methodist Church needed to reassess itself and determine whether its leadership was taking them in the right direction.

“The church will be better off if it reconsiders the terms of employment of the four senior officials who are not making any real effort to improve its relations with Government and, importantly, steer the church in the right direction by not meddling in the nation’s political affairs,” he said.

Fiji’s leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama has said some Methodist Church ministers had been spying on the military for the previous government

Meanwhile, Fiji’s police chief Esala Teleni has ordered an investigation against members of the Methodist Church hierarchy following espionage allegations by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Police spokeswoman Ema Dimila told FijiLive that the Police Commissioner had ordered the setting up of a special task force to carry out the investigation against church figures.

Ms Dimila said the probe would also involve “issues surrounding officers of the National Intelligence Bureau (formerly known as the Special Branch)”

She told FBC news a number of officers from the Fiji Police Force Special Branch have been sent home as Police widen investigations on the payment of Methodist church ministers to spy for the state.

“At this moment there are some officers that have been sent home, or have been given letter or are prepares to be given letter regarding this investigation.” Ms Dimila said.

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