Indian Catholic News

Audit in Jacobite Church reveals massive financial irregularities

Sources said the former committee members did not carry out any auditing.

Image used for representational purposes only(File | EPS)

A recent audit of the financial transactions carried out by the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in the past 10 years has thrown up massive procedural irregularities, including unavailability of original bills/receipts and payment vouchers, inconsistencies in travel expenses and lack of clarity in the money spent in many cases, which have brought the Church’s dealings under a cloud.

The audit by Church Managing Committee former members Sabu Parakkal, Ummachan Vengedathu and M J Markose revealed huge amounts of money were spent without maintaining proper records.

According to the audit report, advance vouchers worth several lakh, were issued without the signatures of the recipients. Also, the nature of expenditure was not mentioned in the advance vouchers and even payments made for power usage and transportation costs were done without original bills being provided.

Similarly, the amount paid as insurance on vehicles was done without proper bills, with transaction details of furniture and equipment purchased and expenditure towards the education trust not maintained.

Curiously, the Church does not even have details pertaining to the expenses involved in fighting legal cases before various Courts.

Hamstrung by the paucity of funds and lack of probity in the financial transactions, the administration of the Church has come to a standstill.

“The rule of Catholicos of the Jacobite Church, Baselios Thomas I and his associates has worsened the condition of the Church. Without proper financial records maintained by the former committee members, the Church’s future functioning is in a limbo,” said Paul Varghese, Jacobite Almaya Forum president.

Sources said the former committee members did not carry out any auditing. Though the managing committee held its monthly meetings, matters on financial transactions were not addressed.

The auditors have come up with certain suggestions for ensuring smooth functioning of the administration.

“The Committees must maintain proper records of Church income and expenses. Stamp account register, dispatch register and both inward/outward register should be maintained. The minutes’ book of the Church must be maintained properly and voucher payments must be made only after they are cleared by the respective authorities. Further, the Patriarchal Centre must have an Accounts Department,” said the audit report.

Fr Varghese Kallapara, Jacobite Church former spokesperson, said the Church will face a major crisis if the situation is not addressed with immediate effect.

“The Catholicos must take a decision on the issue. The Committee’s former members must be questioned and the irregularities should be brought to light,” he said.

Meanwhile, priest trustee Fr Sleeba Vattavelil Cor-Episcopa said the audit report clearly reveals financial irregularities and it will be discussed at the emergency working committee meeting to be held on Wednesday.

“The issue is a major one and we will take up the issue at the coming working committee meeting. We are planning to seek a detailed investigation into the irregularities thrown up by the audit report,” said Fr Sleeba.

Source: new Indian express

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