Sunday, March 23, 2014

PG’s Buddy Convicted of Breach of Trust and Corruption

Rev. David Yonggi Cho, mentor and good buddy of Senior Pastor Prince Guneratnam (PG), was recently found guilty by a South Korean court for committing the crime of Breach of Trust and corruption of US$12 million of his Church’s funds.

According to the news report, Rev Cho had directed the transaction which involved the purchase of stock by the Church from his son at a much higher price than the market price, resulting in the massive loss by his Church.

For the conviction, he was given a suspended sentence of 3-year prison term with a 5-year probation and was ordered to pay a penalty of US$4.7 million.

He was also charged and convicted of Tax evasion of US$3.2 million for which he was given a light sentence in view of his contribution to society.

After his conviction, Rev Cho told his congregation that he has learnt that “an individual shouldn’t possess anything” and that “status, fame, authority, money….are matters that are unworthy of any pursuit”. Rev Cho added that he hopes that God forgives him for his actions.

PG similarly had some Breach of Trust and Tax evasion issues which were exposed during the height of the Calvary Church saga. Although a Police Report was filed against him by a church member on the Breach of Trust of Missions funds and much evidence was furnished to the police during the course of the investigation, no action was taken against him.

 However, PG subsequently had no option but to return the funds which he had “illegally” transferred from the Church Missions account into his personal Calvary International Ministry (CIM)’s account when the Bank closed CIM’s bank account.

PG was also investigated for personal Tax evasion during the Calvary Church crisis period. The Tax Department raided his office and home. However, he promptly paid up the penalty and taxes due on his undeclared income and no further action was pursued.

Although PG has been more fortunate than Rev Cho to escape the long arm of the law, it is hope that nevertheless, he will learn the final lesson which his mentor learnt and that is, “status, fame, authority, money are matters that are unworthy of any pursuit”.

And instead of trying to defend Rev Cho, as he did at a recent Church service, PG should learn to call a spade a spade and also acknowledge his own indiscriminations, seek God’s forgiveness and change his ways.

Pastor John Piper, in his response to Rev Cho’s conviction, has this advice for pastors:-
1.   Kill every desire to be rich and get rich
2. Pastors, if you see your income starting to grow, set a governor on it
3. Be totally transparent with your fellow elders about your sources of income
4. Live simply to show that your treasure is in heaven and not on earth
5. Put in place a leadership structure of a plurality of elders