By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE Church of God has been asked in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court to account for $500,000 in Hurricane Dorian contributions it received to aid victims and churches under its umbrella that were ravaged by the Category Five storm in 2019.
“It is our belief that the funds has been suspiciously spent,” church member Donell Bain Moxey asserted in the document stamped in the Supreme Court on May 20, 2022, adding: “…up to this day no one has been given any proper breakdown of the funds expended and up to this day no invoices or receipts were given.”
The affidavit furthered that there were members who “incessantly” requested a breakdown of how the money was spent only to be insulted publicly by the administrative bishop Moses Johnson.
As a result, Bain Moxey’s affidavit urged the court to not only order an audit of the church’s accounts but order an investigation by the Royal Bahama Police Force’s anti-corruption and anti-money laundering departments.
It was also put forward that the office of Bishop Johnson be suspended until a proper investigation can be carried out.
An appeal was also made of the court to suspend the office of the National Treasurer Bishop Joseph A Smith until there is full adjudication of the matter.
In addition, Bain Moxey asked the court to place a freezing order on the Royal Bank of Canada account of the Church of God.
According to the document, there was a considerable amount of damage to the churches under the Church of God umbrella due to Hurricane Dorian in both Grand Bahama and Abaco.
Seventeen churches were named as affected in those islands and all of the money was to be distributed to them. These include Dundas Town Church of God, Faithwalk Cathedral Church of God, Feed My Sheep Church of God, Man-O-War Cay Church of God, Marsh Harbour Church of God, Miracle Church of God, Green Turtle Cay Church of God, New Haven Church of God and Grown Haven Church of God in Abaco.
Those in Grand Bahama were Central Coral Road Church of God, Fairfield Faith Temple Church of God, Faith Temple Church of God, Pinder’s Point Church of God, First Haitian Church of God, Hanna Hill Church of God, Hawksbill Church of God and High Rock Church of God.
“…all of the contributions received by our administrative bishop, Bishop Moses Johnson were to be distributed between the churches and its members in the two islands affected by Hurricane Dorian
“In the 2019 administrative bishop report, Bishop Moses Johnson admitted to receiving approximately $500,000 in contributions for Hurricane Dorian,
“The national treasurer of the Church of God, Bishop Joseph A Smith in his financial report stated that they had spent $167,256.12 for hurricane relief to the victims of Hurricane Dorian.
“Bishop Harvey Cash, a minister of the Church of God and Pastor at Lakeview Church of God would have then requested invoices and receipts to substantiate the above mentioned sum.
“Both Bishop Joseph A Smith and Bishop Moses Johnson would have stated that there were no invoices or paper trail to present to the members of the Church of God but they promised that at the next financial report, these would be produced.”
However, the affidavit noted that in the 2020 administrative bishop report Bishop Johnson failed to mention anything about the contributions given to him solely for the benefit of Hurricane Dorian and he also failed to mention how the money was spent.
“The national treasurer Bishop Joseph A Smith also failed to give any information on how the monies were spent that was solely received for the benefit of victims of Hurricane Dorian.”
Bain Moxey said a Profit and Loss Report through December 2020 made it “pellucidly clear” that more money was spent in the period that left only a balance of $188,789.59.
And still, up to this period no invoices were shared with the members of the Church of God.
“Bishop Harvey Cash along with Reverend Sherelle Sanders were belligerently rebuffed by Bishop Moses after inquiring of the invoices and receipts and recognising that the amount was dissipating quickly,” the affidavit also stated.
However, in the subsequent year, the administrative Bishop posted another financial report that only states that a church in Freeport, Grand Bahama, was just about complete and that rebuilding would be done in Dundas Town, Abaco.
Still, no mention was made of the funds that were distributed by the administrative bishop.
Meanwhile, the national treasurer Bishop Smith also gave a report and made no mention of the distributions of funds and again no invoices nor receipts provided to substantiate the spending.
Later, “to the shock of all members of the Church of God, we saw in the Profit and Loss Report (January through December 2021) that there was a zero balance on the account that would have had $188,789.59 the year before.
“Up to this day no one has been given any proper breakdown of the funds expended and up to this day no invoices or receipts were given.”
Bain Moxey went on to ask the Supreme Court to appoint Bishop Carlton Stuart as the acting administrative bishop and Bishop Edmund Ellis as acting national treasurer until the matter is properly dealt with.