Anglican Church Orders Njoka to Refund Sh1.7m

Anglican Church of Kenya has resolved that the controversial "cash-for-prayers" Bishop Peter Njoka refunds Sh1.7 million paid out to him for chaplaincy services to the Nairobi City Council.

The church's House of Bishops, which brings together all the 26 Anglican bishops country-wide also resolved that Njoka should immediately step down as the chaplain to the council.

However, the House of Bishops absolved Njoka from blame, saying he did not solicit for the payment but that it was the council through its relevant committee, which resolved that a chaplain should be paid the same monthly allowance as councillors.

The resolutions were arrived at a marathon meeting held at the church's headquarters at the ACK Garden House on Tuesday at which Njoka was grilled over the saga.

Making their conclusions on the two-month long saga involving one of their brothers-in-faith, the bishops said the records available on the case suggest that Njoka was valued as an important spiritual advisor to the council and the mayor.

The bishops further noted that previously chaplains of the council have been paid on the same principle and that no issues were raised.

Anglican Church of Kenya head, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, said the church has been aggrieved by the controversy surrounding the allowance paid to Njoka.

"The controversy continues to portray the church negatively. It is hurting to our brother bishop and the entire church," said Nzimbi at a news conference yesterday.

"We take this opportunity to apologise to all our faithful and Kenyans in general for these unfortunate circumstances," he added.

Nzimbi was accompanied by bishops Julius Kalu (Mombasa), Simon Oketch (Maseno), Stephen Njehia (Nakuru, who is also the church's dean) and Beneah Salala (Mumias).

The bishops said their decision to have Njoka refund the money "was for the sake of the gospel and not because it was fraudulently received".

This, they said was because of the church's obligation to uphold moral values in society.

They said the City Council should urgently sit and resolve the "cash- for-prayers saga once and for all".

"If the cash was wrongly given, then the council should categorically say so and apologise to the bishop," said Nzimbi.