Soroti Diocese Anglican bishop has suspended with immediate effect one of his senior priests over alleged theft of Shs8 million belonging to a Norwegian national.
The Norwegian, Ms Rundi Randi, is said to have been one the Europeans behind the funding of some of the youth activities at the diocese.
The letter of suspension by Bishop George William Erwau, addressed to all diocesan departments, ordered the Rev Beseri Otekat to vacate the diocese forthwith.
Bishop Erwau said the Rev Otekat’s case will be heard by the diocesan disciplinary committee once he pays up the said money to Ms Randi.
“You are hereby suspended from your official duties with effect from today, Wednesday, May 2, because of the unfortunate activity which you did, and there is a letter of your confession to that effect,” the Bishop’s letter reads in part.
Bishop Erwau also directed that the Rev Otekat, 45, be discontinued immediately from perusing his Master in Theology at Uganda Christian University Mukono until the issues of theft of money from the Norwegian are settled.
“I will only give a comprehensive comment on that if I am served with the letter of suspension,” he said.
The area police public relations officer, Mr Michael Odongo, said the matter first came before them in January, when Ms Randi reported a case of theft of her Shs8m by the Rev Otekat.
He said Ms Randi later lost interest in the case, saying she had forgiven the man of God having been friends for long.
“We only had two statements; that of Ms Randi and the Rev Otekat, which [case] was closed as the muzungu lost interest and left the country,” Mr Odongo said.
Another Reverend, who preferred not to be named, said the case was indeed closed by the Norwegian and wondered why it was resurfacing now. “We’re also reliably informed that since the lady had insured herself against theft in Uganda, she was compensated by some insurance company and left,” he said.
He said Rev Otekat and Ms Randi were close friends and in most cases, she entrusted him with withdrawing money from the bank using her ATM Visa card.
Rev Otekat has served both at the Diocese headquarters in Soroti Town and in Serere Archdeaconry.
Before the suspension was effected, three attempts were reportedly made by the diocese leadership to solve the matter amicably.