THRISSUR: A gold scam has surfaced in the St. Mary’s Forane Church at Koratty belonging to the Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese which is already facing a land scam. It is alleged that Father Mathew Manavalan heading the church known as ‘Koratti Muthi’ misappropriated over three kg of gold which the faithful had offered to the deity since 2014. An inquiry commission instituted by the archdiocese visited the church on Tuesday evening, but the members of the laity did not co-operate for a sitting demanding solutions for the issues related to the daily sermons at the church.
“The priest had taken charge of the church four years ago and the gold received as offering was recorded as 5.5 kg then. When a section of the laity alleged misappropriation, a 15-member committee, including the priest, was formed and he conceded that the total quantity of gold received was 6.5 kg and not 3.25 kg as he claimed earlier. He said that the gold was sold for construction activities of the church which owns schools and a hospital, but there were no accounts or documents to prove it,” Mr Shaiju Paul, who was in the committee representing the laity said.
The priest was reluctant to accept the report of the inquiry conducted by the committee and the archdiocese then formed a four-member commission. “The auditing is held annually at the parish but the accounts given by the priest were verified without cross-examining the assets,” Mr Paul noted. The officials of the archdiocese said that the commission would conduct an inquiry into the allegations raised by the laity.