ZIMBABWE – Factionalism and infighting have rocked the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe church to an extent that some pastors have sued their president and other top officials over failure to carry out an audit for the past 12 years.
Pastors Kefias Mujokeri and Paymore Murefu have approached the High Court seeking an order compelling the executive led by Pastor Asper Madziyire to engage external auditors to check on the church’s books of accounts amid suspicion that there could be embezzlement and abuse of the church’s funds and assets.
Church president Pastor Madziyire and secretary-general Pastor Amon Madawo were cited as respondents in their personal capacities while the church’s national administrator, Pastor Munyaradzi Shumba, was sued in his official capacity.
In a court application filed by the two pastors’ lawyers, Zinyengere and Rupapa Legal Practitioners, the audit sought should be done within 21 days of the issuance of the court order.
The pastors named Deloitte Touche, KPMG Chartered Accountants Zimbabwe and PWC Pricewaterhouse Coopers as their choice of auditors qualified to carry out the audit.
Upon completion of the audit, the two pastors want the audit report to be accessible to all church members.
In an affidavit, Pastor Mujokeri said Pastor Shumba, as the head of finance, and other leaders had not conducted any audit since 2003 in violation of the church’s constitution.
“Contrary to the peremptory provisions, the second respondent’s books of account have not been audited since 2003.
“Further the second respondent has not been annually conducting audits of the books of account of the first respondents’ provincial councils as he is peremptorily enjoined to by clause 11.91 of the church’s regulations. The last such audit was conducted in 2003,” he said.
Pastor Mujokeri said since the books had not been audited for over a decade, there was suspicion that the funds could have been abused.
“The second respondent’s (Pastor Shumba) constitutional violation creates in me a reasonable suspicion that the books of account having been immune to scrutiny for over a decade, the church’s finances have for that period been abused and misappropriated,” said Pastor Mujokeri.
The pastor said Pastors Madziyire and Madawo had looted from the church to an extent of failing to complete critical church projects.
“It (the church) has failed to complete critical infrastructure like the Rufaro National Conference Centre (in Masvingo), which has (been lying) idle since 2003.
“I suspect that the lack of progress is not merely coincidental but also indicative that the church’s finances are being channelled where they ought not to.
“Further, and even critically, the church’s top officials especially third and fourth respondents (Pastors Madziyire and Madawo) have amassed levels of wealth beyond the means of the church’s full-time salaried officers during that period,” said Pastor Mujokeri.
Pastor Madziyire, according to Pastor Mujokeri, runs a company called Lamclem Enterprises that is believed to be funded by the AFM Church.
Pastor Mujokeri also indicated that Pastor Madawo was involved in the operations of Faith Bricks (Private) Limited but he did not declare his interests in that company as he is enjoined to by the church’s regulations.
“In the circumstances, my apprehension is indeed reasonable that the second respondent’s failure to audit the church’s books of account has created room for persons like Pastors Madziyire and Madawo to abuse the church’s funds for their personal aggrandisement and beneficiation . . . ” said Pastor Mu- jokeri.
The church and its leadership are yet to respond to the application ahead of a court hearing date.