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Bishop denies ‘sweetheart deal’ to defraud diocese: The Church of England Newspaper, April 15, 2011 p 8. April 16, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India, Corruption.
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Bishop Lawrence on the way to inauguration of the 4B St Werbugh CSI Hospital in Nandyal

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Nandyal in the Church of South India has denied accusations of misconduct put forward by an anti-corruption watchdog group.  The claims put forward by the Christ Centered Campaign (CCC) that he was defrauding the diocese by “gifting” a church owned hospital to a private company were untrue, Bishop PJ Lawrence tells The Church of England Newspaper.

On March 31, the CCC, a lay led advocacy group that has led the charge against corruption in the Church of South India, released a statement accusing Bishop Lawrence of having “virtually gifted away the CSI-owned St. Werburgh’s “ Hospital “in the heart of Nandyal” to a foreign controlled “private limited company.”

On March 8, 2011 the bishop granted 4B Healthcare a 30 year lease to operate and manage St Werburgh’s Hospital.  Built in 1931 by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to serve the city’s poor, the CCC said the hospital’s land, clinics and rental properties have a market value of £8.5 million.

In return for the lease, the Diocese of Nandyal is to receive “15 per cent of net surplus” from the operations or a minimum of Rs 25,000 (£350).  The CCC claims that “no payments to the CSI are likely to  materialize” as 4B Healthcare is given “sole control over accounting” in the contract, and has the right to deduct from its payments “any outstanding liabilities” for the hospital at the time of the takeover.

The CCC notes the contract gives 4B Healthcare the right to “develop the entire property by modifying, demolishing or putting up new buildings, equipment and facilities” and at the end of the lease “should the CSI want to get back the property it will have to first pay 4B for all the developments done on it.”

The anti-corruption watchdog also questioned the credentials of the buyer, noting that it had been formed in January 2010 by an American entrepreneur, who “a mere three days after the deal between 4B and the Nandyal Diocese was inked,” sold a 99 per cent interest in the company to Opportunity International Australia (OIA).

The CCC urged the CSI to “consider legally challenging the transfer of the Nandyal Hospital to a private company on terms that virtually ensure the hospital and its vast land bank are lost to CSI members forever.”

“This deal sets a very unhealthy precedent as it can be used to justify similar ‘virtual sales’ of valuable CSI property elsewhere,” the CCC said, adding that “for the many corrupt bishops who dominate the CSI this novel model shown by 4B could just be the answer they are seeking to circumvent the challenges a vigilant laity is throwing at them” to stop the stripping of the church’s assets.

Asked about the allegations, Bishop Lawrence told CEN he wished the CCC had “checked with me the fact before circulating such information” as “there is no truth in what they are saying.”

The 4B Healthcare deal was “done with the approval of the executive committee of our diocese for the good of the hospital,” the bishop said, and it was unfortunate that “a hand full of disgruntled people” were raising objections.

Bishop Lawrence added that the “so-called CCC is focusing on dissidents in every diocese to malign the bishops.”

The bishop stated that “anyone, including the CCC is welcome” to visit Nandyal “and get the facts.”

Comments

1. binu thomas - April 16, 2011

It is strange Bishop Lawrence should claim there is “no truth” to the CCC allegations. Perhaps he should re-read the agreement he has signed with 4B, then he will realise that the allegations stem from the contents of the agreement itself. The truth is there is “no truth” in the feeble denials Bishop Lawrence is making.

shekar katary - August 6, 2011

greetings to you in the name of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, before I go further on this let me ask you respected sir, do you know where Nandyal is? and what it was when Rev P J Lawerence took over the reins of this diocese.the previous bishop had accumulated a defeceit of over 50 thousand Indian rupees, the diocese staff including the clergy had not been paid salaries for almost two years and that bishop had also sold off a property in a plpace called giddalur. the present bishop is trying to bring backl the old honour and glory 0f the diocese of nandyal through his hard work and spiritual dedication The hospital was in ruins, Let me tell you sir, this bishop is as righteous as one can get

2. Dr. John S. Dorai - April 16, 2011

BISHOP DENIES “SWEET HEART” DEAL……..

The CSITA (Church of South India Trust Association) Beneficiaries Association as Organization recently established and registered has convened a meeting with all Representatives from all the Dioceses of Church of South India to discuss the above sweet heart deal between Bishop Lawrence and 4B Health Care.
On a Resolution unanimously passed in the meeting, the CSITA Beneficiaries Association has written on the 15th April 2011 to Bishop Vasanthakumar, the Ex- Officio Chairman, Bishop Devakadasham, the Ex-Officio Trustee, Mr.M.M.Philip, the Ex-Officio Secretary and Dr.Bennett Abraham, the Ex-Officio Treasurer of the Church of South India Trust Association urging them to cancel this sweet deal immediately other wise this deal will be challenged in a court of law.

A member of the Nandyal Diocese who opposed this deal has been issued with a Memo that he ipso facto has lost the government of church and his primary membership in the diocese has been withdrawn.The CSITA Beneficiaries Association has also wrote to the Ex-Officio officials of the CSITA urging them to issue a mandate to Bishop Lawrance who is ignorant of law of the land and the CSI Constitution to immediately withdraw his Memo failing which a picketing will be organized by the CSITA Beneficiaries Association against Bishop Lawrence when he is in Madras.

Dr. John S. Dorai
General Secretary
CSITA Beneficiaries Association, Chennai

DR C S RAO - April 22, 2011

Respected Dr John,
Greeting from nandyal,
it is good to oppose as the truth will get focused and magnified, its really amasing when senior member of the church are raising the voice without proper verification. Let make an effort to build the kindom of God

binu thomas - April 23, 2011

Dear Dr Rao,

“Proper Verification” is contained in the letter of the CSITA Hon Secretary dated 8th April 2011 which says he was “really shocked” by the deal Bishop Lawrence struck with your 4B Healtcare. The letter also cites various illegalities involved in the deal that has been entered into by the Bishop bypassing the CSITA. You should also disclose you are an employee of 4B and a direct beneficiary of this deal as you are currently managing the hospital in Nandyal on behalf of 4B.

shekar katary - August 6, 2011

Sir, I extremely feel sorry for your ignorance when you mention above that a member of the diocese of Nandyal had opposed the deal. now tell me what is a deal and what is an agreement.ok, this so called member is a criminal and has cases pending against him in Nandyal police. you know why he opposed it? it was a simple reason of greed, he wanted to get some monetary benefit and he was provoked by the secretary, Mr. Sudhakar and Vice President Rev Vara Prasad of the executive council of the diocese of Nandyal who in various meeting approved that it woul be good if the hospital is managed by a professional organisation and when they realised that this Bishop is a tough and righteous man unlike the previ one and ere not able to milk out any money, they started accusing the bishop, I can tell you that this allegation against the bishop is absolutely wrong an the actual crooks are the secretary and the vice president who have not submitted their accounts up to a tune of nearly 9 lakh rupees. so sir, please get your facts right and then we start talking

3. Dr.R.Jayakaran Isaac - April 16, 2011

Bishop Lawrence has not stated what are the statements of the CCC expose which are not true?I find that the expose is based on the Deed of Agreement signed by the Bishop on 8th March, 2011. Does he deny that a deed of agreement was signed on that day by him using the designation “Bishop, CSITA Diocese of Nandyal” ? Is there such a designation for a Bishop of a Diocese? If the entire authority for the action by the Bishop flows from a resolution of the Executive Committee of the Diocese, why the tag of CSITA has been added ? The relationship between the CSITA and the Bishop of a diocese is based on the Power of Attorney issued by the CSITA. The CSITA Manual clearly says no property of the CSITA can be leased, mortgaged or sold without prior sanction of the Synod Executive Committee and the CSITA. Obviously this Agreement has been entered into by the Bishop and the Treasurer who are Power of attorney holders for the Diocese without obtaining such a permissio. This alone should be the enough for the CSITA to cancel the Power of attorney issued to the Nandyal Diocese.
I anticipate that the Bishop is going to take the plea that he has not leased the property but only entered into an administrative agreement which grants the 4B healthcare the right to operate and manage the hospital and therefore he does not need prior permission ! If he takes such a plea then it is a deliberate move on the part of the Bishop to bypass the CSITA Rules and very well can become a ” model” for other Bishops to follow. In any case,even a cursory reading of the Deed of Agreement goes much beyond and administrative agreement and confers the right to deal with the property. In othere words, it appears to be essentially a defacto lease agreement carefully worded to take all the stake holders for a ride.The million dollar question is whether the Moderator and the Officers of the CSI Synod who claim to be ex officio officers of the CSITA were aware of this move? If so, then they will be deemed to have connived with the Nandyal Bishop in perprating this highly illegal arrangement. If they claim the contrary, they should act immediately and cancel the Agreement and restore the propertry to the CSITA.
Dr. R. Jayakaran Isaac
Former Secretary of CSI Vellore Diocese and Former Principal of Voorhees College, Vellore.

DR C S RAO - April 22, 2011

Respected Dr Jayakaran,
Greeting in the name of Lord ,
it is good to oppose as the truth will get focused and magnified, please do visit nandyal and meet the persons who are opposing and supporting and also get some information from the concerned police station on the past history. please find out the contrubution of the persons to CSI in their lifetime nor probable work in the future. Your piont of prior permission from CSITA is noted, can you give suggestion on who to go about it. Let make an effort to build the kindom of God

4. Prof. Zachariah Mathew, Kerala - April 18, 2011

The poor believers across the 22 dioceses of the CSI are totally disgusted with the embarrassing situation prevailing in the church today. We are indeed thankful to the CCC & the CSITA Beneficiaries Association
for their laudable efforts in combating corruption in the various dioceses, Nandyal being the latest victim. One can’t simply understand as to how the bishops, instead of being Fathers-in-God to their flock, dare invite trouble in their dioceses unmindful of the CSI Constitution & the law of the land. May the good Lord save His church and the Faithful !

DR C S RAO - April 22, 2011

Respected Proff Zachariah Mathew,
Greeting from Nandyal,
Its laudable in combating correption but not otherwise, note the state of mission hospital and the properties it holds, everyone talks about the past glories and ignite good feeling to fulfuil the growth of bad and ugly. this is an attempt made by the bishop in being Father- in-God to his flock which can be rectified by the advise of other God feasring people on the entire controvercy.

5. Dr. S. Midturi - April 29, 2011

It is unfortunate that such a thing done in haste, perhaps, with no intention to inflict any damage or harm to the diocese or Christian folks in the diocese of Nandyal has created chaos in the community. It also created mistrust in the Bishop of Nandyal, and to some extent, in all the clergy to damage the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and his church.

I’m a former student of the once-famed SPG High School in Nandyal, and I was also treated for pneumonia when I was in ninth grade in the St. Werberg’s Hospital. Unfortunately, I lost touch with the diocese and it’s activities more than 40 years now. My heart aches, and my soul is troubled greatly at this sorry episode. Whenever I visit India, and Nandyal in particular, I look at the High School and the Hospital, and I’m reminded of the glory days of the Diocese. For a strange reason, my thoughts hovered around my high school since Good Friday and Easter, and longed to know something about my school. So I web searched to know what is happening in Nandyal and my high school. I’m sorry that I could not get good news about Nandyal Diocese!

Let me point out that I met Bishop Lawrence as late as in July 2011 when he dedicated a small church in a village called Maddur. I’m aware that this Bishop has done extraordinary things to the diocese of Nandyal. He worked tirelessly to make many changes to my former high school, and is right now in the process of building a new church (I think, it’ll be called All Saints Church) on the all forgotten, ignored campgrounds of the church property. I’m pretty sure that Bishop Lawrence has signed the document with no full grasp of its contractual implications. I wish he had consulted a lawyer before he signed the document.

I’m glad that the CCC has noticed it, and I wish and pray that the CCC and the Bishop would talk face to face and settle the episode, so that the name of the church and the name of our Savior Jesus Christ are not maligned. Love and forgiveness between brothers are important and should be our focus. I hope our Bishop would come to know that large programs undertaken expeditiously could lead to mistakes. I hope all Bishops would talk to their advisors and the congregations prior to sign the legal documents! Reconciliation between all parties is essential to peace. The Bishop has perhaps erred, and the CCC has been aggressive, but with God’s help, relationships should be healed.

This is my two cents worth. Please note that I’m not promoting anyone nor condemning anyone. May the Good Lord give us grace to work for Him!

shekar katary - August 4, 2011

hreetings t you doctor in the name of our lord and saviour jesus christ.I t is really shocfking to see these kinds of thing mentioned about the bishop Rt.Rev P J Lawerence. Well my father Mr. K S Sabhapathy was a student, teacher and subsequently the head master of the great school where you studied. I through this message will dare any one of the persons including the so calleed CSITA and CC members if they have any values to come and personally have a look at the buildings which are in a crumbling state and see if they can do any thung to them.I can say that no Person except ofcourse the respected missionaries of the SPG have done such a wonderfuklwork of spreading the gospel through education theology, health care/ This present Bishop has done wonders to this diocese that no former bishops hve done.if you need any further details of the present situation in Nandyal please feel free to contact me on shk63@yahoo.com

6. Shaji P.Koshy - June 1, 2011

I’ve been associated with the CSI Mission Hospitals for nearly three decades.Keeping aside all what has been written so far,what I cannot understand is this.If a Diocese finds it difficult to run a Mission Hospital in the way it was desired when founded,why can’t the authorities hand it over to organisations which have proper vision and dedicated men? For example,Emmanuel Hospital Association?
Koshy

shekar katary - August 11, 2011

mr,Koshy, I think this is whatRev P J Lawrence has done, He was in the process of having the 4B people to simply run the hospital


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