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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Move by ZRA to Audit Churches Questioned

General News Move by ZRA to Audit Churches Questioned

LUSAKA clergyman Bishop Simon Chihana says Zambia Revenue Authority’s declaration that it will be auditing churches in Zambia cannot go without comment.

Bishop Chihana, the International Fellowship for Christian Churches (IFCC) president, noted that the declaration had come at such a time when poverty was high in the nation and with a very high level of unemployment.

“The current position taken by the Zambia Revenue Authority, ZRA, cannot go without comment and taking serious analysis because it borders on a body that all of us as Zambians have great attachment to and this is the Church. The Zambia Revenue Authority has declared that they shall be auditing the churches in Zambia for whatever reasons, and it has come at such a time that poverty is high in the nation and with a very high level of unemployment among our people,” Bishop Chihana said.

He said wisdom is paramount in running national issues and consideration for the plight of the poor is a mark of great leadership.

The clergyman noted that the Church in Zambia had been a great partner in the alleviation of poverty of all the governments that have ruled the country.

“The Church has from time immemorial helped governments in bringing quality education to every one of us, quality medical care through mission hospitals and clinics. The Church is not a social club, but an organism through which God works to minister to the needs of humanity both spiritually, physically, and socially,” he said. “The Church is the salt to us all, through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God society is sustained in many ways, we are encouraged to love each other, forgive one another, help one another in time of need. The Church is always there to play as the mediator in times of conflict, to broker peace and unity.”

Bishop Chihana reminded ZRA that a lot of the social ills in society cannot be handled by the government of the day alone.

“But the Church is working day and night doing the job of reconciling families, helping the rejected, run away husbands and wives to resolve, run away children and parents to come together,” he said.

He said there were so many social ills out there that the Church is ever attending to such as drug abuse, drunkards, illicit sex and other crimes.

Bishop Chihana said it was unwise to punish a horse “that you ride on when all it requires is a little support from the rider to have food and to wash when it is dirt and a little water when it is thirsty”.

He added that all the services that the Church offered to humanity were free and supported by the generosity of the congregation and well-wishers.

“With all sanity of the mind, how do you as government under Zambia Revenue Authority audit a body that totally depends on free will offerings from the generous people. The next government must work in partnership with the Church and support them in all their efforts in making sure that they give our children quality education and provide quality health care to our people in the communities, strengthen their evangelistic thrust in the communities,” Bishop Chihana said.

He however, admitted that there were crooked church leaders.

“Thus it is the work of the investigators and the police to arrest such culprits that have taken advantage of the holy sacred work and messed it up with their dirty hands emanating from their evil hearts,” he said.

Bishop Chihana advised that such delinquency minded people must also be removed from the pulpit work.

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34 COMMENTS

  1. Too much money laundering in some of these Churches. It’s high time Financial activities of these Churches got monitored and audited. We don’t want Churches to be breeding grounds for terrorist activities!
    Audit them!

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  2. But if churches are in come generating, they must be audited. Tax obligations have nothing to do with poverty, then it means companies not making profit in this environment must not be audited. The only problem though knowing how un professional and malicious the PF government is they could be targeting churches linked to opposition leaders like in the CEC case.

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  3. Better there audited, these are businesses not churches. Check them, they stole for the poor, living high life.

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  4. From taxing boreholes now to Churches what’s going on in Zambia these people what to eat every everywhere.

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  5. About time, the real churches have nothing to worry about just the fake ones, these rich pastors taking from the poor must be taxed the good life and fancy houses/ cars is over.

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  6. Well, covid has revealed to us that there is nothing extraordinary about these so-called churches. We all scampered together in all directions. Those who pretended they could stand got infected and died like the rest of us. See? So let’s revisit the charter, audit those collections so that we really know they are going to the good of society. Tiyeni nayo! You must now account for your existence like the rest of you. Wee wa pumbavu!

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  7. Why Islamist Lungu start with audit of mosques and madrassas that are mushrooming in a Christian nation? Who is funding mosques? If Saudi Wahhabis are doing that it is criminal interference in affairs of a Christian nation. Did the get approval from BOZ and ministry of home affairs? If funded locally, audit all members of these terrorist nursery. None of these Pakistanis and west Asians would have paid taxes on these I’ll gotten and channeled monies. Time to audit Islamists shops, business, raid their homes and get hold of their computers, bank statements and safes. They have billions of dollars stashed overseas. Bring that backvand clear nation’s debt. These Islamists have been skimming Zambia and Zambians for 55 years

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  8. I support this move by ZRA. Religion has been commercialised in Zambia by the Pentecostal churches. No doubt these are the target of ZRA. Yet the tax agency can do better than this. There’s lots of unearned money which ZRA is not interested in pursuing. They don’t need any leads from anyone because there’s enough expertise within the tax agency to find out.

  9. So Churches make u believe that we give alms to them so they can help the poor and live off a merge portion of that.
    When we ask if we can check to see that is true. Then its wrong?
    Explain how Bashiri can afford a Mazartii luxury car to a minor daughter when the poverty levels in South Africa and Malawi are so high?
    Why do we want to continuously think that we are smarter than the very people that give us that money.
    Be stewards and serve man, instead of arrogant self serving individuals hiding behind a cossack, saying lord lord where are thee…without any real intent for the words we use apart from how much can I get out of this move.

  10. As Christians upholding the truth we should have nothing to fear. The laws of the land must be followed just like we are urged to submit to those in authority. By the way the Bible does not state anywhere that Churches should not pay tax. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. And ZRA have not said they want to be taxing Churches exactly. But there may be Churches which have business ventures. And the money in Churches is part of the National G.D.P. We must know how much Churches bring in the National economy. Even our clergy should not fear paying taxes from their earnings its Biblical and giving has its own blessings.

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  11. So long other Charities are audited, let them go ahead and audit churches, there’s nothing to hide.

    It is the reason why churches prepare and present financial reports at their annual general church meetings; keep their books open to the public to inspect through relevant public offices, including the Registrar of Societies at any time or through the annual returns that charitable organisations and churches, specifically, submit annually.
    Nangu limbi ifintu naficinja since I left my Pastoral leadership role in Zambia?

  12. Why auditing churches which are not registered for tax?

    This is another way of silencing freedom of worship.

    PF must go!

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  13. This move should be commended.
    You don’t need to registered for tax to be audited.
    Pastors have been using churches as a way to avoid paying tax. I know a Pastor who’s been selling a second-hand computers and he’s been using he’s church’s names when importing. Just last year alone, he made close to K1.5 million in sales and paid ZERO taxes, me who made way less than half of that paid my taxes.

  14. what is he afraid of, if a church is making money they just have to pay taxes. Example i can give, Bread of Life there is a bank there and i believe the bank pays to the church some money, that money is income and therefore they just have to declare Income Tax. The only churches that are registered as public benefit organisations are exempt from tax, but even then if those churches do some other business apart from what they were registered for, that is subject to tax.

  15. THESE CHURCHES ACT AS TAX COLLECTORS WHO ARE THEMSELVES NOT TAXED, THEIR IS TOO MUCH THEFT OF POOR PEOPLES MONEY IN ESPECIALLY PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES WHILE USING THE NAME OF GOD, THE OTHER THING IS TO CHECK THESE GUYS AND CLOSE MOST OF THESE PASTORS MONEY SPINNING VENTURES, THEY ARE FROM THE DEVIL MOST OF THEM

  16. If the churches hv been operating within the law, ZRA will find nothing and that will be great. Money does go missing in all the churches without exception and things are just hushed up.

  17. Uyopa chani iwe mambala- You and your colleagues are busy building mansions . Your friend Bishop Zimakandolo is building expensive apartments in Lusaka. Where does he get the money from . Just pay you taxes !

  18. After Covid, only foolish Zambians will continue giving money to these con Pastors and Bishops. They are thieves, ba pompwe, ba kabwalala .

  19. WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIANS FOR LUNGU? WE, NEED TO TAX THEM KAILI. ANYWAY,TRADITIONAL CHURCHES THEY ARE BETTER CZ THEY HELP THE POOR PEOPLE NOT PAPA CHURCH.

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  20. Those arguing against the taxing of Churches, Have you not read how Jesus was made to pay Temple tax?

  21. Irrelevant arguments by the bishop. If the mafia are running good schools and hospitals for the poor should they be let off?
    In Germany all pastors are paid a salary by the state and the state collects the tithe from every baptised member. That is why there are no mega churches in Germany and no ‘Papas.’ Whether we like it or not, churches have become means of enriching the men of gold. They give away 2 Ngwee and keep 100 Kwacha, ati, ‘We are helping the poor.’ This is exactly what happened in Israel in the first century. Priests and Levites became rich. One Levite even owned land which he had to sell when he became a Christian and brought the money to the disciples.

  22. As Shakespeare might have put it: “The Bishop doth protest too much, methinks.”

    Serious, ZRA – I would begin post haste with a deep and probing audit of any and all accounts Chihana has ever touched. Methinks that could be very rewarding for you!

  23. They’re doing the work of God and ig yiu tax them then you’re taxing God.

    If they’re depriving the people of God, then God will judge them harshly. If anyone of you want to compete on flesh and material, then form your own church.

    I give to offering to church because i want the gospel to spread to the end of the earth but if my pastor abuse those offering for his/her own lavish expenditure, my master who gives and takes will judge accordingly.

    So do not be envious of pastors and priests, they have their calling just you have yours.

    ZRA is demonic and Satanic to audit the church and that will bring anarchy in churches.

    Let people worship freely without emotional attachment to tge priest or pastor.

    The churches are meant for spiritual advancement not material and…

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  24. You children of Satan and the serpent, stay away from auditing the church. Churches are already being regulated by Registrar of societies and they file annual returns.

    If the members of the clergy complains is only then you can call for an independent auditing.

    Don’t bring your dirt tricks in churches. Stay away.

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  25. Churches don’t pay tax on imported vehicles and machinery. All ZRA want to be verifying is that those assets are indeed being used by the churches and not turned into personal to holders by church leaders. Secondly the offerings collected besides being God’s money they are public funds that must be used to the benefit of congregants. Thats all ZRA wants to ensure. Is that too much to ask?

  26. Also don’t forget that political leaders also represent God according to the bible. So they have an obligation to protect God’s money and ensure that its properly appropriated to the benefit of society. Does it make sense with Covid-19 that no church has asked for financially affected members so that they help them. Some of the affected members have been faithful in their tithes and offerings. Are they expecting God to come down from heaven and help their members? Please give us a break.

  27. Politician are fighting for earthly material and I’m talking about your salvation in eternity. You are fighting the work of God, how do you expect gospel to reach the end of earth if you want to suffocate the word of God?

    Leave God out of your dirt politics. Churches are not the reason why there is corruption, mismanagement of economy and neither should we combine the two.

    I will stand with church on this one.

  28. In all countries that are worth anything churches are also made to account for the income they receive and how they spend it. They are audited. This is not the time for the so callled “Bishops” to mishandle people’s donations. Even the relatively wealthy countries such as our neighbour South Africa, the churches there are audited. I have attended several annual general meetings of the church in SA and it is by law that they do that , So what is our “Bishop” talking about? What is wrong with Govt. asking you how you use God’s money? If you are a genuine Bishop what would bother you if the Govt asks you how much you received and how you used it. In South Africa some churches that I know, the members are given annual financial briefing of the church of how much was received and how…

  29. In South Africa some churches that I know, the members are given annual financial briefing of the church of how much was received and how they used it. So Bwana Chihana, what would be your problem? if you are a child of God with integrity that should give you the confidence of meeting the ZRA and explain to them or give them a record of how you used the money. Ofcourse if they find expenses for Jamesons they will ask you what for?

  30. Transparent and accountability are critical for national revenue. The country is rich but ZRA faces challenges in collecting enough revenue for accelerated commercial d industrial transformation. There is need to cooperate with ZRA. Each entity, churches, individual, NGO, companies, municipalities must open up to transparent and accountable tax management system. This is crisis time. This COVID-19 pandemic time. This is a cal to national transformation. Every coin counted. Every asset counted. Every resource counted. Tax is the vehicle of national transformation.

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