Indonesian pastor charged with conspiracy against church funds

The West Kalimantan prosecution announces the arrest of four people, facing the wall, for allegedly embezzling funds intended for the construction of a Protestant church. (Photo: Prosecutor’s Office)

Four people, including a Protestant pastor, have been arrested in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province for alleged corruption in a church building project.

The pastor was arrested on October 4 in Sepauk district along with the three others, including an official and two members of the local assembly of the Sintang regency.

They are suspected of having embezzled US $ 22,000 in grants intended to finance the construction of a Pentecostal church in the village of Semuntai.

All four were being held in Pontianak, the provincial capital, according to the West Kalimantan prosecutor’s office.

“The money was supposed to have been used to build a church, but it was not treated as it should have been and ended up transferred to the personal bank account of one of the suspects,” said Masyhudi, the chief prosecutor.

“Our investigative team found two pieces of evidence strong enough to justify charging the suspects,” said the prosecutor, who, like many Indonesians, has only one name.

The four suspects, who marched ahead of a press conference, deny the allegations.

Capuchin Brother Stephanus Paiman, president of Justice, Peace and Integrity for Creation in Kalimatan, said it was a shameful case if it turned out to be true.

“If this is the case, they must be severely punished because they are people who should set a good example for others,” he told UCA News.

Support UCA News …

… .As we move into the final months of 2021, we ask readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.

For 40 years, UCA News has remained Asia’s most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news exclusive and in-depth reports, features, commentary, podcasts and video broadcasts, developed from a world view and the Church through discerning Catholic eyes.

Our journalistic standards are as high as those of the quality press; we are particularly focused on a rapidly growing part of the world – Asia – where in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can meet – South Korea, Vietnam and India for n ‘name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters covering 23 countries in South, South-East and East Asia. We report the stories of the local people and their experiences in a way that the Western media simply does not have the resources to reach. And we report the dawning life of new Churches in ancient lands where being Catholic can sometimes be very dangerous.

With declining support from financial partners in Europe and the United States, we need to appeal for support from those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out how you can support UCA News. You can tell the difference for as little as US $ 5 …