A dispute at the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) Kenya took a new twist, with officials trading barbs over alleged mismanagement of church funds.
Two factions, one loyal to the church’s General Superintendent Patrick Lihanda and another led by Nathan Ondego are at loggerheads over the management of a multi-million-shilling Preachers Retirement Benefits Scheme.
Rev Lihanda has accused Mr Ondego, a pastor at the church and the scheme’s administrator, of mismanaging the kitty.
The General Superintendent believes Ondego has been hiding suspect transactions in the scheme at the expense of the church.
According to Lihanda, Ondego is to blame for the troubles afflicting the church. “He is the cause of all the problems we are facing,” he said.
He claimed Ondego was working with the police to frustrate him and the church leadership. The church official said a Sh10 million donation received from President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto in 2017 could also be part of the problem.
Lihanda said the police had vowed not to allow the church to run its programmes, adding that they were demanding an explanation of the circumstances under which the church received the money from the Tangatanga movement.
“The money in contention was brought by Ruto when he graced a church conference at our Nyang’ori headquarters on behalf of President Kenyatta in 2017. The PAG is non-partisan and the funds had nothing to do with politics,” argued Lihanda.
But Ondego claims Lihanda has failed to remit funds to the retirement scheme.
“Rev Lihanda has accused me of swindling the scheme of Sh400 million while it is common knowledge the kitty is not worth even Sh300 million,” Ondego said in a telephone interview.
According to Ondego, Lihanda owes the scheme Sh14 million.
“We have records to prove this and correspondence we have had with him over the matter. He is being economical with the truth,” the cleric said.
Police in Vihiga also denied interfering in the church’s activities. Police commander Hassan Barua said: “We cannot just watch as people fight in the church. We were tipped off about tension in some of the churches and went there to restore order.”
Mr Barua added that Lihanda had a right to report claims of threats to his life at any police station.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.