Family accuses priest of stealing burial offering
Written by Wanyoyi wa Wasike
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A row has erupted between a family and an Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) priest in Bungoma County over the mysterious disappearance of offerings collected at the burial of a deceased member to the former.
The family of the late Fredrick Nasila Samburuma who was buried at Wasio village in Bungoma West District last weekend has come out with guns blazing, accusing David Malaria, the ACK Dean in-charge of Chepkube Parish for disappearing with the offerings totaling to over Ksh10,000.
In a complaint filed at the Cheptais Police Station, a copy of which was made available to West Fm, the family, through the Secretary of the burial committee Wilberforce Lumbuku demanded for the arrest of the church leader to account for the money collected during the funeral service of the late Nasila, who unsuccessfully vied for the Mount Elgon parliamentary seat in the 2007 general elections.
"While we appreciate the great work committed by the servants of God, it is heartbreaking and discouraging that some of them, dressed as men of God can engage in totally unacceptable and unholy behavior as exhibited by Dean Malaria," said the statement.
Lumbuku added that on the material day, the family had appointed one Moses Wekesa Savimbi as the master of ceremony but the priest shot up from his seat and grabbed the microphone before starting to dictate the proceedings.
He said that after the mourners had contributed their offerings, Malaria disappeared from the scene and never even presided over the burial of the late.
"He only took a little soil at the graveside, dropped it on the coffin that was still laid bare on the table before vanishing in that confusion as some family members were fainting," claimed Lumbuku.
However, Malaria denied the allegations when West Fm rung him to get his comment over the saga, instead accusing Lumbuku and a section of the family members for trying to spoil his name.
"I led other church faithful in conducting a befitting burial for the late Nasila and the claims are merely meant to tarnish my good name. Let them know that when they insult me, they are insulting God!" cautioned the priest.
Asked to state the amount of money collected as offerings, Malaria explained that a total of Ksh.3,500 was collected out of which some "other expenditures" had been incurred, leaving Ksh.260 that he promised to hand over to the family soon.
"We sat with the church committee yesterday and we resolved to give the remaining amount of Ksh.260 to the family of the deceased," said Malaria.
But Lumbuku dismissed the priest's explanation saying that several high-profile people including former Trade and Industry Minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, Livestock Permanent Secretary Ken Lusaka, several political leaders and aspirants, civil servants and officials from the sports fraternity in which the late Nasila belonged attended the burial and each of them gave a substantial amount of money because they were close friends with the late.
"How can the priest claim to have such a very small amount of money remaining? What expenditure did he incur and who gave him the mandate to spent the amount in the first place?" asked Lumbuku.
He appealed to ACK Arch-Bishop Dr Eliud Wabukala to take action against the priest.