$4.3 million in building costs will be written off

A proposal by the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa's finance committee, to write off $4.3 million that the church expended on the John William's building, has been approved by the church's general conference.

This is according to the Secretary General Reverend Vavatau Taufao, in an interview with the media, following the general conference last week. 

Reverend Vavatau said renovations on the John William’s building first renovation were “poorly done”, which led to the removal of materials from the renovation site and the writing off of $4.3 million in church funding.  

Renovation work first started on the building in 2013 and two years later the project was incomplete, with Reverend Vavatau indicating that they found evidence of poor workmanship. 

“They restarted the project in 2017 and from there it was discovered, the work initially conducted was poorly done, the building was leaking from the ceiling and we found out the timber used for the roofing was starting to deteriorate. And we have to do what is right and renovate the building,” he said. 

The project is almost complete and to date over $3 million of the $5 million allocated by the church for the building has been spent. 

“I think if we go through the materials thoroughly, I don’t think the write off will reach $4 million,” said Rev Vavatau. 

In March last year, the Komiti o Feau Eseese asked the church’s general assembly for an additional $2 million to complete the project. 

The request was revealed in a copy of a report produced by the Komiti o Feau Eseese, which was tabled in last year's general assembly conference.

According to the Komiti o Feau Eseese report, the repairs are underway with two different companies contracted to work on the body, the plumbing and the ceiling of the multi-storey building. This work was to cost $3 million, which was already approved for renovation. 

An elevator servicing company also recommended that the building is fitted with elevators, which will require additional funding.

The church's finance committee, during the general conference this week, passed a motion to hold off on all big projects in the next three years. The temporary halt will enable the church to focus on paying its $12 million loan with the Samoa National Provident Fund and complete the renovation of the building. The motion was accepted during the general conference. 

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