The Church Administrators Society of Nigeria (CASON) has announced the need for churches in Nigeria to see the new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 as a call to reposition themselves; improve self-regulation and entrench proper administration, rather than see it as persecution by government.
Addressing professional members, invited pastors, church administrators and members of the public at a webinar hosted online in Lagos, Nigeria Wednesday August 25, CASON President, Pastor Seyi Oladimeji said, “Understanding the law and applying it to the way churches are run is an administrative issue. That is why we seek to educate The Church today.”
Speaking at the webinar, CASON Board Member and Adviser on Legal Matters, Mr. Tomi Vincent submitted that if Nigerians embraced CAMA 2020, the law would help in building more credible businesses and not-for-profit institutions, including churches.
“The new law also grants power to the Corporate Affairs Commission with the approval of the Minister of Trade in cases of misconduct or mismanagement to suspend trustees for the purpose of protecting the property of the association or for public interest or for abatement of fraudulent administration, which also include frivolous remuneration or reward of persons acting in the affairs of the association or other frivolous administrative expenses e.g. indiscriminate honoraria for guest speakers without established policy or protocol” Vincent said.
It was noted at the webinar that certain features of CAMA 2020 provide for prosecution, fines and suspension of trustees where falsehood, misconduct, criminal negligence etc are discovered in the registration, activities and operations of a church under ‘Incorporated Trustees.’
Also speaking at the webinar, CASON Treasurer and Governing Council Member, Mr. Segun Shelleh, who is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, explained that CAMA 2020specifies clearly, the legal framework for the registration of churches as incorporated trustees, appointment, qualification and removal of the trustees, constitution of the church, appointment of its governing body, application of its income and property, rendering of accounts, annual returns and dissolution of the organisation.
Shelleh said, “It is advisable to apply the funds of a church strictly for the purposes set out in its constitution. Proper steps should be taken to include in the church constitution, every legitimate purpose of the church that is not already in its constitution, which may include approaching the CAC to alter such constitution in line with section 833 of CAMA 2020.
“Any trustee of the church who needs to draw salaries from the organisation, should immediately consider removing himself/herself from the trustees’ body and remain just a staff of the organisation rendering his/her service to the church dutifully in compensation for every salary or remuneration received” Shelleh advised.
CASON has promised to issue a communiqué following the webinar on CAMA 2020 as an advisory to its constituents who are the founders, leaders and administrators of churches in Nigeria.
In concluding his address, CASON president, Oladimeji said: “If churches are better self-regulated, we would not need to be externally supervised by any government agency for we would function by the law. That is why CASON organized this webinar even as we get ready to host our 2020 annual conference in September.
“Our detailed professional advice to the Body of Christ in Nigeria shall be contained in a communiqué soon to be published and circulated to all our constituents” Oladimeji said.