Church land mystery
The purchase of five acres of land at Malololelei from the Catholic Church by the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) came under heavy scrutiny at Malua this week.
The subject matter angered some members of the church attending the Malua annual conference.
During the General Assembly on Wednesday, members of the church called for a refund of the $650,000 allocated for the purchase, once they found that there might be no land at Malololelei.
According to Chairman of the Elders committee, Reverend Elder Kerisiano Soti, the land had been earmarked for a Retreat Center Development. However, when they inspected it, they found that the estate was not appropriate for the plan so they had asked the Catholic Church for another piece of land.
“When we went back and asked for the land, they said there has been a change of plans,” Rev. Elder Soti said. “But we feel that there is no more land. We feel that it has already been given to the business people.”
An attempt to get a comment from the Catholic Church yesterday was not successful. When the Catholic Land division was contacted, an official declined saying that the authorised spokesperson was not available.
Back at Malua, the General Assembly was told that $650,000 had been paid out for the five acres of land.
“As of today, the Catholic Church has not allocated us any land at Malololelei,” Rev. Elder Soti said.
This angered members of the church.
“I feel deeply disappointed about this knowing that the money has already been paid to the Catholic Church,” one member told the Assembly.
“Not only was this purchase done in good faith with the church, I feel that we have been fooled. I agree that the money should be returned and have a letter sent to the Catholic Church expressing our disappointment about this.”
The church member also said the Catholic Church should pay back an interest for the eight years since the money was paid to them for the piece of land.
Another church member agreed. He added that the church doesn’t need anymore land but the money will come in handy to pay for other big developments that remain unfinished.