Church member questions $4.3million write off request

The lack of “professionals” to oversee the John Williams renovation project has cost the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) millions. 

That's the opinion of Afamasaga Pavihi, a Dunedin New Zealand-based member of the church who is in Samoa for the General Conference.

“The move by the Finance Committee to write off the $4.3 million as indicated earlier this week is not easy to swallow but there is nothing to do now," he told the Samoa Observer. 

“However there should have been some transparency about this matter."

Attempts to get an official comment from C.C.C.S. were unsuccessful.

But the $4.3 million write off is outlined in the 2018 Finance Committee report, asking the General Conference for approval.

It was discussed during the conference on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Afamasaga said the amount in question is not small. 

He said part of the problem was the appointment of church ministers to oversee the project.

“They are not professionals and they lack knowledge about the standard of any construction projects, because they are Church Ministers," he said. 

“And so the contract was awarded but there was no one to oversee the contractor, hence all the issues at hand.” 

Afamasaga was not alone in his opinion.

He was stationed outside the fale Samoa at Malua with other members of the church when the matter was raised during this week's conference. Other members whom the Samoa Observer spoke with expressed similar opinions.

“There are members of the church who are certified engineers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, they should have been tasked to oversee the contractors, now all the church funds will go to waste due to the recklessness of those in charge of the project."

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference where a decision is also expected.

Last year, the C.C.C.S. Finance Committee Chairman, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia,  expressed disappointment about the cost of the project.

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