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Indonesian pastor accused of church fund conspiracy

Protestant clergyman, three others suspected of embezzling funds meant for building a church in West Kalimantan

Indonesian pastor accused of church fund conspiracy

West Kalimantan Prosecutor’s Office announces the arrest of four people, facing wall, for allegedly misappropriating funds meant 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 construction project.

The pastor was arrested on Oct. 4 in Sepauk district along with the other three who included a civil servant and two members of the local assembly in Sintang Regency.

They are suspected of misappropriating US$22,000 of grants meant to fund 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 processed the way it should have been and found itself transferred to the personal bank account of one of the suspects,” said Masyhudi, the head prosecutor.

"Our investigative team has found two key pieces of evidence strong enough to warrant charging the suspects," said the prosecutor who, like many Indonesians, only goes by one name.

All four suspects, who were paraded before a news conference, deny the allegations.

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

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

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