FWC disqualifies three ministers at Sydney-based Pulelalaʻā church  

The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga has disqualified three church ministers who were serving its churches in Australia and based at its main office at Pulelaʻā in Sydney.

The ministers are Rev Matafonua Fotofili, Viliami Tu’akoi and  Sione M. Pīnomi.

In a letter addressed to the trio, the church’s Secretary General Dr  Tēvita Havea said in Tongan:

“Once you receive this letter you no longer have the authority to be ministers of the church under the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga’s constitution.”

Dr Havea told the ousted ministers the church had done its best to observe all the procedures that were required. This included sending the three ministers letters detailing the complaints against them. However, the ministers had not responded.

Dr Havea said the church’s 92nd annual conference last year had decided to take action, but because accusations had been laid against them their ministerial posts were terminated once they received his letter.

The disqualifaction was the latest in a series of decisions made against the ministers since a series of disastrous financial decisions led to the collapse of its Pulela’a church in 2012.

The Pulelaʻa church was de-registered after legal action by Westpac to recover millions of dollars owed to the bank. The church lost its multi-million dollar church in Sydney and five other properties that were used for security of a loan.

Dr Havea said the ministers had told the church to communicate with them through their lawyers.

“I believed that has been fulfilled,” Dr Havea said in his letter.

“We served all prosecution documents and evidences against you to your lawyers.

“We expected you would respond in writing to all the accusations made against you in writing.

“Unfortunately, you did not complete that part according to our agreement at the court.

“After seven months we have not heard from you.

“We then took the next step which we announced at a meeting and your lawyer was informed.

“You did not respond,” Dr Havea told the ministers.

The Secretary General said the final decision on the ministers was taken at the Ministers’ Conference Committee met on March 3. The three ministers  did not attend.

The committee will report to this 93rd annual conference on what has been done and advise it to take whatever further action is required.

Dr Havea will be in Sydney on April 17 and 19 to conduct the Fakavahefonua quarterly meeting, which will be hosted by the church led by Dr Siotame Havea.

Dr Siotame was ordered by the FWC’s 92nd annual conference last year to replace the outgoing ministers in August last year.

However, when Dr Siotame arrived in Sydney, Rev Matafonua accused him of starting a new church and the congregation split, with some following Dr Siotame and some staying with  Rev Fotofili and Pinomi.

The main points

  • The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga has disqualified three church ministers who were serving its churches in Australia and based at its main office at Pulelaʻa in Sydney.
  • The ministers are Rev Matafonua Fotofili, Viliami Tu’akoi and Sione M. Pinomi.
  • The disqualifaction was the latest in a series of decisions made against the ministers since a series of disastrous financial decisions led to the collapse of its Pulela’a church in 2012.
  • The Pulelaʻa church was de-registered after legal action by Westpac. The church lost its multi-million dollar church in Sydney and five other properties that were used for security of a loan.

READ MORE:

Australian FWC church fear the worst as Pulelaʻā leaders refuse to step down

Free Wesleyan Church name can still be used in Australia, but way is open for legal action

Time to audit Pulela’ā church’s accounts, says Wesleyan General Secretary

Promises over Pulelaʻā church ‘make-believe,’ FWC conference tells members

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