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Ministers provide intelligence on church activities

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 13, 2010) – The Methodist Church says it is unaware of some insiders being paid by the police force to act as informers for the military and the police.

Army commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama told local radio station, Radio Fiji, that some ministers were on the police payroll.

Radio Fiji reported "Commodore Bainimarama says Commissioner of Police Commodore Esala Teleni has confirmed to him that some Methodist ministers were on government's payroll and have been actively providing the police and military with information.

In another major announcement Commodore Bainimarama says Government has decided not to approve a permit for the Methodist Conference until 2014."

Methodist Church acting general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra said this was a surprise to them.

"First of all we need to substantiate the report on the radio station and secondly we are not aware if such a thing is going on. Even if the claims are right, this office (the Methodist Church) does not have any records of such practices" he said.

Mr Nawadra said church ministers had taken an oath to the church and God and such actions, if the claims were real, would be a direct violation of that oath.

"If we do find any church ministers of being involved in such activities then we will definitely take them out of the church."

The Methodist Church last year was not allowed to hold their annual conference as the government saidd it was more political than religious.

This led to the cancellation of not only the conference but also the choir competition.

"We are also not aware of the government's intent to cancel our permits until 2014. After the cancellation of the conference, the police have allowed us to have our standing committee meetings" said Rev Nawadra.

He added that not being able to hold conferences would affect the church in more ways than one as that was one time when members were able to mingle and sing praises to God.

"We are still trying to digest the news as this is quite a difficult bit of information to swallow."

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