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Bishop denies corruption allegations over hospital sale: The Church of England Newspaper, June 3, 2011 p 8. June 5, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India, Corruption.
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Bishop P.J. Lawrence celebrating the St Werbergh's deal in Nandyal

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop in Nandyal has denied accusations leveled by the General Secretary of the Church of South India that he had abused his authority by granting a 40 year lease on a church hospital.

In a spirited exchange of letters, Bishop P.J. Lawrence said he was “shocked” by the rush to judgment made by the General Secretary, while the General Secretary Mr. M.M. Philip said he was “really shocked” the bishop would have signed the deal without the approval of the Synod.

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 implicating Bishop Lawrence in a sweetheart deal that “virtually gifted” St. Werburgh’s Hospital to a foreign controlled “private limited company.”

Bishop Lawrence was accused of granting a 30 year lease on the hospital, built in 1931 by the SPG and valued at £8.5 million, in exchange for payments of “15 per cent of net surplus” from the operations or a minimum of Rs 25,000 (£350) per year.

The CCC claimed that “no payments to the CSI are likely to  materialize” from the deal as “sole control over accounting” was given to the firm acquiring the hospital, which also had the right to deduct from its payments “any outstanding liabilities” at the time of the takeover.

On April 8, Mr. Philip wrote Bishop Lawrence stated he was surprised by the deal and ordered the bishop to “cancel the agreement.”

The bishop replied on April 22.  St. Wergurgh’s was a “dying mission hospital” that was a drain on the limited resources available to his “poor rural diocese,” he said, adding that he had emailed a copy of the proposed lease to the CSI headquarters in Madras in September.  Having had no reply, he “took it for granted there is no objection from the CSI Synod.”

The bishop stated he was willing to re-negotiate the deal if the CSI Synod was unhappy with the terms Bishop Lawrence was able to obtain, but “there was no question of cancelling the agreement.”

Bishop Lawrence also denounced the tone and tenor of General Secretary’s letter.  “Your one unilateral letter has destroyed my unblemished reputation of 40 years ordained ministry and five years of episcopal ministry,” he said.

In a letter dated April 27 in reply, Mr. Philip said he was “very sorry for the inconvenience” caused by the dispute, but held fast in his demand the bishop cancel the agreement, or produce new terms acceptable to the CSI’s property management committee.

In a statement released on May 7, the CCC urged the CSI synod not to be swayed by the bishop’s blandishments as there was “a more sinister design involved than meets the eye.”

Comments

1. shekar katary - August 5, 2011

Well it is absolute rubbish in what has been claimed by mr. Phillip

2. shekar katary - August 5, 2011

It is absurd for any one to take in to account the statements issued by a lay organisation called the ccc, well ccc is nothing but a front for former office bearers of the synod to quietly dispose of church properties in south India, Being a person who seen Nandyal up close, Let me let every one know that the hospital was in shambles and after a long struggle and hard work by Rt. Rev P J Lawrence, we have an organisation that can bring back the old glory and honour. Now coming to the Lease or sale, everybody knows that that is not possible in a large democracy like India where everyone is aware of everything, the proposal to allow 4b to effectively run the hospital was approved by the executive Council of the Diocese of Nandyal as is the norm and the Bishop has neither sold it or leased it something like that.I do not want to go personal through these pages but let me ask everyone concerned, one simple question. does Mr. Philiph know where Nandyal is or when the hospital came in to existence. the previous bishop of our diocese sold off church property and no one except Rev P J lawrence took up the matter and tried to get it back.I would openly say that after the early Danish missionaries came to this area in 1706 and ofcourse the British after that there has been no one of authority who has stepped on this soil and done such a kind of developmenton the education front, medical and theological, No one can and no one will ever.And this Bishop is a very righteous man

3. Du-wayne Biggs - October 7, 2011

Du- wayne Biggs a student at the feet Rev P J lawrence i know that this man have the heart for is nation and will do anything to see the glory of God show in india


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