We pick his piece from here and under are the 6 points church leaders need to pay attention to if their institutions must last time’s test.
Since we are being silly.
“In keeping other peoples’ money, you have to prepare account. That is why churches fought me so badly, took me to court as a person and then my office too. Mosques and orthodox churches freely complied, but those Pentecostal churches called me to ask questions. They said ‘this church is church of God and we are accountable to God.’ And I told them: ‘Very good, so you must take this church to heaven, you can’t operate it here’. When public funds are involved, government needs to ensure proper accountability” he said at the time.
Obazee, of course, had a point.
Since not-for-profit organisations exist for social, religious, educational, professional or other charitable reasons, and their income are not captured in the tax net, Obazee has a point. Even when a non-profit organisation may have assets and may be profitable, the accruing funds are expected to be deployed in pursuit of the goals for which those institutions were established; and not to be shared by some promoters. Yet, we all know that there are religious and other non-government organisations in our country that are established and run like family businesses. That is not right.
Why fight accountability?
In most civilised societies, donations to churches, mosques and other religious centers are well documented not only for record purposes but also to ensure that the sources of those funds are not from criminal enterprises like money laundering, drug trafficking, graft etc.
How reasonable people do it.
For instance, during the 2010/2011 academic year when I was in the United States with my family, we were worshipping at the Chapel of Resurrection Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. On the church offering/tithe envelope, you have to write your name, address and phone number along with the amount being paid. I once asked the Pastor why I had to fill all those details just to give offering or pay tithe and he said they were important for the American authorities that would examine their books. That means there should be institutions with powers of oversight over such organisations even in our country.
There is an imperative.
With the appointment of a respected professional like Mr Adedotun Suleiman as the new chair of the FRC Board, I feel very confident that guidelines that will take into account our national sensibilities, while at the same time promoting transparency and accountability in the public arena, will be produced. That is good for a society like ours where religion has become an industry with which some charlatans exploit the people.
The bottom line.
To the extent that they are registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, religious bodies are not above the law.
Follow @ynaija on Twitter