The Sunday Mail
The president of Seventh Day Adventist North Zimbabwe Conference is under investigation for allegedly swindling the church of funds amounting to more than US$20 000.
The church’s foreign based auditors are currently combing through the church’s books following indications that Pastor Albert Mangwende, who has held the office of North Zimbabwe Conference president for 18 months, misused the church funds.
The allegations triggered an outcry within the church, hence the ongoing audit.
The church’s executive secretary of Zimbabwe East Union, Pastor Zibusiso Ndlovu confirmed the development.
The North Zimbabwe Conference falls under his jurisdiction.
“Indeed, we have an issue which involves Pastor Mangwende, but it is still under investigation. Therefore, I can’t disclose much, lest it disturbs the investigation.
“As many may be aware, SDA is a big church with a structure that has certain set standards to be adhered to and when one then fails to do so, it raises a lot of concerns.
“In our church, calling for an audit is open for everyone as long as they follow the proper procedures and state their case well,” he said.
Stressing that he cannot pre-empt the contents and background to the audit, Pastor Ndlovu said after the conclusion of the audit, the union will be able to make an informed decision.
Pastor Mangwende has been in charge of church projects, including a US$4million Sandton Park Offices and Zimbabwe’s multi-million dollar community centre, among others.
Reports say that the church fears that Pastor Mangwende could have taken advantage of his influence over the projects to tap the funds. In his response to The Sunday Mail Society, Pastor Mangwende confirmed that the audit is ongoing but denied the allegations.
“Yes, I am under audit although I have not received any official communication to enlighten me on what I am being accused of and any other details of what is really happening.”
The man of cloth denied having swindled the church, stating that there is a paper trail to show the North Zimbabwe Conference’s transactions. Pastor Mangwende said there have always been calls for him to be audited. However, he feels the calls are being driven by invisible hands seeking to tarnish his image.
“I know how I have conducted myself for the 18 months I have been in this office with regards to church funds and I am not fazed by the audits.
“This could have something to do with the evil spirited elements who seek to tarnish my image and cause alarm within the church,” he said.
A member of the church who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that church politics has rocked the SDA in recent times, although most of it has reportedly been swept under the carpet.
“Most senior members plot against their rivals in influential positions to topple them and lay their hands on the church’s funds,” the source said.
The source added that factions and in-house hostility are slowly devouring the church, which is believed to be one of the richest churches in the country.