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EACC lauds Catholic bishops’ ban on huge cash donations in churches

By Cyrus Ombati | Oct 6th 2019 | 4 min read

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Twalib Mbarak (L) and Chairman Eliud Wabukala during their meeting with the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on the investigations and prosecutions of anti-corruption and economic crimes at the Parliament building. [File, Standard]

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) says individuals are increasingly channeling their ill-gotten wealth to religious organizations, mainly the churches.
The commission welcomed a declaration by Catholic bishops in the fight against corruption. This is after the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops outlined measures to be taken in a six-month national campaign by the Catholic
faithful in Kenya in support of the fight against corruption.

EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak commended the move by the bishops calling for proper accountability and transparency in the handling of all financial donations to the church.
“The decision by the Catholic Church to rally its faithful to strongly support the fight against corruption and ban all donations without proper source is welcomed,” said Mbarak.
He added it is public knowledge that corruption has reached disturbing levels in the country and culpable individuals are known to channel their ill-gotten wealth to religious organizations.
He added that the Commission will continue to partner with willing stakeholders and all like-minded Kenyans in the fight against corruption. He called on all other religious organizations to emulate the example set by the Catholic Church in Kenya and join hands in the fight against corruption for the good of our nation.

It is after a bishops’ meeting at the Marian Shrine in Subukia on Saturday, in which they banned wads of notes in funds drive in favour of cashless donations.
The bishops said the electronic transfer of donation would leave a “clear trail of donors” for accountability's sake.
They also banned politicking in the pulpits, proper recording of gifts and their givers and announced a six-month renewal of baptismal promises for every Catholic faithful to re-commit themselves against the evil of corruption.

"Henceforth fundraisers in the church will be done by mobile money transfer or by cheque. This will avoid handling of huge amounts of cash and give a clear trail of the donors," conference Chairman Bishop Philip Anyolo announced.

He added the church shall also provide details of its accounts, institutions, projects and other financial matters making them open for public scrutiny.

"We shall keep a record of any gift given to any religious leader exceeding Sh50,000. All gifts shall be accompanied by a letter," he added.

The bishops declared that the church shall not condone being used as political platforms or for any other motive other than for the liturgy and normal worship dealing a blow to a section of politicians who have been using churches every Sunday to respond or attack their critics.

"We shall not be used as political platforms. We shall not allow any address within the church from any non-liturgical character. Such addresses will be made outside with due dignity. Political speeches shall not be allowed during any liturgical celebrations," he said.

At the special service dubbed “breaking the chains of corruption” and held at the Subukia National Shrine in Nakuru County, it was a spectacle to behold as the men of clothing emerged walking barefoot.

They all knelt facing the altar and observed a moment of silence before reciting a prayer against corruption led by their chair.
 “We take this step personally and as shepherds of all members of the Catholic church for the sake of all Kenyans and future generations. We may appear small but can truly slay this monster and free our country
from the slavery chains of corruption,” said Anyolo.

The bishops decried the tremendous corruption that has imprisoned most sectors of the country economically, socially and politically.

"We come out in a prophetic gesture of mourning to call to God for mercy, all Kenyans to change our wayward ways and personally reject any form of corruption" added Anyolo.
The church shall also open a corruption desk through which Kenyans can make reports on corruption. Anglican Church of Kenya closed ranks with the Catholic Church to tighten the noose on politicians taking a stranglehold of the pulpit.
The church head Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit said he felt vindicated by his colleagues in the Catholic church. He said his own church’s synod agreed last week that no donor will be allowed to give his donation to the church openly.

“The donations are to be made quietly and recorded with no announcements to the congregation."

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