Bishop Pokolo Suspended

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Because of his inability to explain how he managed to misuse US$43K received from American ex-Marine Malachi Jones in a failed Fish Project in 2013, the Pastoral Board and the Elder Council of the United Church of Christ on Monday suspended Bishop David Kyne Pokolo indefinitely from his clerical duties.
The decision is in an attempt to remove what they said is the shame that Bishop Pokolo’s action has brought on the church.
The meeting was held at the church’s presiding Bishop Jeremiah Jargbo’s residence near ELWA, outside Monrovia, the venue that witnessed periodic meetings seeking to unravel what went wrong with the deal reported in the Daily Observer several months ago.
The decision followed several months of investigations which included interviews and email communications, an appeal by American victim Jones and Bishop Pokolo’s own explanations on how he got the money and what happened to it. At the end, the two committees concluded that ‘Bishop Pokolo was at fault for failing to manage and repay the US$43K interest-free loan that Jones convinced his Christian brothers in the United States to send to the ministry (United Church of Christ Inc.) of Gaye Town, Monrovia that he allegedly diverted to his personal use.
A member of the investigating committee told this reporter that the committee was interested in working with Bishop Pokolo to assist him in raising some of the money to remit to Mr. Jones, but said “Pokolo was not cooperative.”
“Pokolo demonstrated a self-righteous attitude claiming that the MOU did not compel him to repay the money that he received in 2013 as it is being suggested,” said the member. However, Malachi Jones in his appeal letter to the Pastoral Board for intervention in retrieving the amount said Pastor Pokolo breached the repayment agreement.
“We wanted to work with Pokolo since he was our Bishop, but his lack of reasoning on the issue compelled the committee to suspend him indefinitely,” the Pastoral Board member added.
The US$43K that was wired into Pokolo’s account did not benefit members of The Wednesday Union Prayer Band he manages at the church, according to church investigators.
Investigators said after his suspension was announced, Pokolo argued about the ownership of the church as well as the building that houses it in Gaye Town. Church loyalists may not take the issue lying down and several fear a possible break away of the church, the Daily Observer was told.
“The whole case was like this: since he admitted to receiving the US$43K, and since he also admitted to squandering the money, we wanted to let him bring anything of value that we could sell to send part of the money to Jones (in the US), but he was not willing to agree.” The committee meanwhile expressed regret to American Malachi Jones and his Christian brothers, since reports have confirmed that Jones got the friends to make contributions with the understanding that they were helping a church in Liberia.
The committee also regrets the current legal problems facing Malachi Jones who is being sued in a Florida Court by his friends to restitute the money. They believe that Jones connived with Pokolo to swindle his friends of their hard earned contributions.
In a telephone conversation with Malachi Jones, he said the judge handling the case had confiscated his passport.
The idea for the failed Fish Project was proposed by then Rev. Pokolo whose coronation as bishop was held on August 24, 2014, according to an email Pokolo sent by Jones, a copy of which is with the Daily Observer. The saga started when Pokolo informed Malachi Jones, who was then visiting Liberia in July 2013, to secure funds for the church to engage in a fishing business from China (PRC) to raise funds to assist with its work.
On returning to the U.S., Jones called on his ex-Marine buddies, who were more than willing to participate in the endeavor to provide an interest free loan to be managed by Pokolo for the church. A memorandum of understanding between both parties indicates that repayment would begin in September 2013, and subsequent months at US$8,000 into an account that was furnished to Pokolo until the loan was repaid, according to investigators and email letters in the hands of the Daily Observer.
But in several emails between Jones and Pokolo, and particularly one dated July 24, 2014, Pokolo, having failed to live up to the agreement, sought to explain the major reason for his financial troubles, though he had initially blamed the devil and a curse for his woes.
Pokolo wrote, “I have forwarded my failure in (the) venture to the Lord through some 22 elders of our denomination to join me and seek God’s direction. They went through many days of fast and prayer and God re-emphasized his instruction that He has chosen me to do nothing but his work entirely in the temple.
“My ignoring this prophecy over the years before I even got to know you (Jones) has led me into a great financial burden, including that which I received from you (US$43,000). Immediately after the prayers of the elders, I humbly prostrated before His (God’s) throne for mercy and that I am ready to work for Him. Subsequently (my) denomination, coupled with the Liberia Council of Churches, endorsed my appointment as Bishop of the United Church of God in Christ, Inc. on May 31 to be followed by (my) coronation on the 24 of August 2014.
“With this development, I do not count it against you for your approaches because God messaged me in 1998 not to get into any business but to focus on the spiritual affairs of my calling which I refused. I have frankly run into financial debts of US$92,000 from different sources of sponsorship.”
Having explained the reason for his financial difficulties, Pokolo then wrote about who and not when he would repay Jones’s U$43, 000.
He said, “I have forwarded the total amount (US$43,000) to the trustee (of my church) in New Jersey, USA for settlement as I am now ready to put in full time in the church. I want you to know that I never earned any profit from your money. Since I brought the first shipment (of fish from China) in September 2013, I (personally) never took one carton of fish. I suffered much humiliation because of my refusal to obey God.
“However, I am getting a green light toward the repayment of your money; specifically I will surely give you an update on which way and when the Christian brothers’ money will come. I thought I could (pay) do it on my own but God says no as His will must prevail. Your money through His Grace is a matter of must (that I must pay you) for everybody has seen those many mails of insults that you periodically addressed to me for the money and no matter how you have examined me to be, God has chosen me to serve as a Bishop in Liberia and internationally. No position comes from man but from God. Your money must be paid.”
Though Pokolo claimed he did not take a carton of fish for his family, he admitted in a Daily Observer interview recently that he “used the profit from the first shipment to buy a bus” for the church.
But for the Pastoral Board and Elder Council to suspend him indefinitely means that they hold to the contrary Pokolo’s claim that he has been chosen by God to be a bishop, said a member of the board who was at the meeting last Monday.


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