Archdiocese alleges breach of trust, mismanagement of land sale

Restrictions placed on the powers of Pro-Vicar General, finance officer

The Auxiliary Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Sebastian Edyanthrath, has issued a circular to the priests, clarifying on the archdiocese’s purchase and sale of land at various places, in the wake of reports in a section of the media about possible bungling in the land deals that had resulted in a reported loss for the archdiocese.

The clarification said that the archdiocese had bought 23.22 acre in Mattoor, near Thuravoor in Ernakulam district for a medical college attached to the Little Flower Hospital, Angamaly. The archdiocese had taken a ₹60-crore bank loan for the purpose.

Though it was expected that the sale of a piece of land at Varantharappilly would help repay the loan, the sale had been held up. As a result, the archdiocese had a burden of paying ₹6 crore in interest on the bank loan per year.

It was then decided that some plots of land under the archdiocesan ownership would be sold to repay the debt. Accordingly, a person was entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out the sale of land.

The plots chosen for the sale included 70.15 cents opposite Naipunya School and 62.33 cents opposite Bharat Matha College, both at Thrikkakara; 99.44 cents near Karunalayam and 20.35 cents at Nilpathinjimugal, both near Thrikkakara and 54.71 cents near Maradu.

It was estimated that the archdiocese would be able to repay part of the bank loan with the proceeds from the land sale. However, the archdiocese had received only a small portion of the amount even one and a half years after the sale of land.

Additional loan

Added to this, additional bank loan was taken for the unapproved purchase of land near Kothamangalam and Devikulam in 2017. As a result, the archdiocese has a total debt burden of ₹84 crore now.

The clarification said that the person entrusted with the task of selling the land had acted in violation of the terms of agreement.

Now, the archdiocese was hit not only by a financial problem but also lack of transparency and violation of the Canon Law, the statement said.

It said that on the direction of Major Archbishop George Alencherry, restrictions have been placed on the powers of the archdiocese’s syncellus (pro-vicar general), Fr. Sebastian Vadakkumpadan, and finance officer, Fr. Joshi Puduva.

The interim report of a six-member committee that investigated the deals had been discussed at a meeting of the priests of the archdiocese on December 21. The final report was expected in January 2018, the statement said.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 3:04:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/archdiocese-alleges-breach-of-trust-mismanagement-of-land-sale/article22320873.ece

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