FR GEORGE NKEZE, PLEASE LET THE BUEA DIOCESE BREATHE
So far, I have tried to restrain myself from wading into this saga between Rev. Fr. George Nkeze and his enthusiasts on the one hand and the hierarchy and institutions of the Catholic Church on the other. As a cradle Catholic, I expected that, as a Catholic priest, Fr. George Nkeze would publicly dissociate himself from what is being written in support of his position in this matter and bring his supporters to order because he knows better than most how the Catholic Church operates. Unfortunately, he himself has continued to put his name to documents which challenge or contradict the authority of the Apostolic Administrator of the Buea Diocese and that of the Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon. In addition, he and his cohort have singled out the Archbishop of Bamenda, His Grace Andrew Fuanya Nkea, as the object of a childish and disgraceful smear campaign and with him, any other priest, religious or lay person whom he thinks has ever stood up to his excesses in the Buea Diocese. This has led me to the conclusion that the devil is using Fr. George Nkeze to destroy the Catholic Church and the Buea Diocese. Of course, the devil cannot win against the Church, but I would like to make my own contribution in the fight against the devil and his agents.
Let me make it clear that it is with a very heavy heart that I engage in this write-up because, as a cradle and believing Catholic, I was brought up to respect our priests and the Church and to avoid saying or doing anything that would injure the priest or the Church. Nevertheless, I, my contributing authors and inside sources think that our silence in the face of the truth which we know would also be a betrayal of the Church to which we belong, and a betrayal of those whose names have maliciously been dragged in the mud by Fr. George Nkeze’s gang. It is now our belief that Fr. Nkeze is so power-drunk and so full of himself that he would even destroy CUIB and the Catholic Church to stay in power and enjoy the privileges which he has arrogated to himself by devious and demonic means for a very long time. We need you to understand the kind of person we are dealing with so that you will understand his actions or inactions, the illogical and incongruous arguments about the autonomy of CUIB, a University Board of Trustees that convenes itself without a Chair and issues communiqués signed by an employee of the University and their determination to fight unto death against the Church and her institutions.
Fr. Nkeze has a long history of controversy but we shall unpick a few facts that should show him up for who he is in spite of the glorious picture his praise singers have been employed to paint to the public.
As a seminarian, George Nkeze was disqualified for ordination. He was subsequently sent to Nyandong Parish by the late Bishop Awah where he spent time with the then Parish Priest, Fr. Joseph Bomsa. It was Fr. Joseph Bomsa who recommended George Nkeze for ordination and the late Bishop Awa ordained him, practically against the recommendation of his teachers in the seminary who did not think he was material for the priesthood. The National Spectator Online – which exists only in someone’s bedroom – has been harping on the fact that Bishop Bibi is from Bamessing, Ndop and therefore graffi, to whip up anti-graffi sentiments in support of a devilish cause. This is one of the tactics the devil is using to cripple the Church in the Buea Diocese. However, it is a fact that, had it not been for the graffi Bishop Awah and the graffi Fr. Bomsa, Fr. George Nkeze would not be a priest today. It is the same Fr. Nkeze who caused Fr. Bomsa to be thrown out so publicly and so humiliatingly from CUIB that this greatly traumatised the gentle Fr. Bomsa and turned him into a nervous wreck. When it comes to his quest for power, Fr. Nkeze is ruthless, which is why he was nicknamed KABILA when he took over Bonjongo College from his countryman Fr. Etienne Ntellah and moved it to Mutengene. He had used Fr. Bomsa to become a priest and now has no use for him, because using and dumping people is a consistent practice in his personal and professional life.
Fr. George’s fan club has worked hard to convince us that Bishop Bibi is only in the Buea Diocese to make personal money and the Archbishop of Bamenda has stashed away huge sums of money in foreign accounts and obtained landed property. We are not here to hold brief for either the Bishop or the Archbishop. But let us take a brief look at Fr. George Nkeze’s financial management record since some of us knew him.
When the University Institute of the Diocese of Buea (UIDB) was created, the Diocese gave the university an interest free loan of 200 million francs. Ten years down the line, when all his supporters are singing how Fr. George is a management guru and CUIB is the best University in the country, they have not repaid a dime of the interest-free loan. Can Fr. George be made to account for it?
Anyone remotely connected to CUIB knows that a Foundation was created in the United States of America to help in the financial management of the university. You would have seen on social media how Fr. George Nkeze turned it into a family business. He changed the name of the Foundation and, except for Fr. Basil Sede, everyone else on the Foundation is a relation of Fr. George’s. Does the Foundation now belong to his family or to the Church? Where is the money which people contributed to it? Can we be informed?
In 2010/2011 Fr. George came up with a bogus project called Platinum. He went on television with some scammers from the United States and elsewhere and said how the Buea Diocese was going to be transformed into a paradise on earth. We are working to ascertain how much the Diocese poured into the bogus project. Who has heard of it ever since? And what happened to the money of the Buea Diocese? Can Fr. George and his gang tell us? Does he not have to be accountable to the Church for the use of her money?
One of Fr. George Nkeze’s estranged friends (and he has many whom he has used and dumped) gave us a document which shows that on the 16th of August 2011, the sum of 80,000 euros (about 53 million CFA) was transferred from the Buea Diocesan Account in Germany to ReGeneis Worldwide IIC – Wells Fargo Account in Florida USA. This document was signed by the Bishop Emeritus Immanuel Bushu and his new Finance Secretary, Fr. George Njikang Ngalame, at the request of Fr. George Nkeze, specifically mentioned in the document as “the one working with ReGeneis Worldwide IIC in the US on behalf of the Diocese”. The previous Finance Secretary had refused to be involved in this transaction. Where is the money now? Can Fr. George inform us?
Priests and some laity in the Buea Diocese will remember the famous container shipped out from America apparently for the benefit of Our Lady of Grace College Muyuka. The shipment was paid for by the Buea Diocese. We are even told that they organised a ceremony for the Bishop to bless the container. But did he know whose goods filled the container? There was a car in it for one of the ladies who is now a trustee in CUIB and most of the items belonged to Fr. George. Speak to any priest who was around at the time. You can understand why the relieved trustees of CUIB are fighting for their lives. Only the Honourable Senator from Buea (who is not a Catholic) had the courage to do the right thing.
Under the pretext of running an entrepreneurial university, Fr. George asked the rather gullible Bishop Emeritus to hand over the thriving Diocesan Bookshop to the University so that students could use it to learn how to run a business. The other priests objected to this happening, but the bishop whom Fr. George had under his armpit, gave in. This is how the book project from which even classroom teachers benefitted became the milking cow of Fr. George and his cronies and they soon ran it aground, leaving the Diocese in hundreds of millions of debt. And the cheeky part – they handed back the bookshop and the debt to the Diocese!
Let us leave Fr. George’s atrocious financial record and move on to his management and leadership skills which his friends and beneficiaries have been trumpeting. Fr. George’s management history will be remembered more for empty slogans than for what he actually achieved. As principal of the prestigious Sasse College, he raised the school population to about 1000, but students were crammed into dormitories like never before in the history of the institution. Breaking of bounds was rife to the point where students actually rented rooms in town and went to live in those rooms in turns. Was his priority the making of money or the formation of young Cameroonians? In addition, except for Fr. Joseph Awoh who was principal of Sasse for four years when Fr. Nkeze was away, every other priest who came to Sasse was not good enough and was dismissed (Fr. Jarvis Kebbi, Fr. Aloysius Ndifor, Fr. Emmanuel Epie, etc) until Fr. George could bring in one of his lapdogs (Fr. Peter Nouk). As usual, he employed praise singers to say Fr. Nouk was the best principal for Sasse. From there Sasse became the farm of Fr. Nkeze supporters and sycophnats.
On his watch as Education Secretary, enrolment in Catholic schools in the Buea Diocese dropped from 36,000 to below 20,000. The records are there for anyone who wishes to verify. However, it is curious to note that as soon as he took over office and discovered that his predecessor had accumulated money, he organised a Celebration of Excellence (as if the excellence had been achieved under him) and squandered 100 million francs for that celebration alone! You celebrate excellence you did not achieve and spend a hundred million francs of money you did not save, and you are given a medal! Witchcraft!
He presided over the disbursement of the French Cooperation money which was meant to pay part of the arrears of teachers in the 1970s and, knowingly or out of incompetence, made a complete mess of the situation – putting the names of people on the lists who were not even born at the time the money was meant to cover, paying people who had been settled already in court (including his father) and leaving out teachers in Mamfe and other places who are in court today with the church over the matter. There are priests whose names were included in those lists but who never got any of the money. Their complaints fell on the deaf ears of the Bishop. Can anyone tell us where the money went? Yet, Fr. George is hailed as the godfather of poor teachers in the Buea Diocese.
Fr. George sacked priests as managers of schools and introduced superintendents and bursars for primary schools and store keepers for secondary schools. The sacking of priests turned the schools into lay private schools as doctrine, if taught, was not supervised, school Masses were not celebrated and the parish priest could not intervene in anything concerning the schools in his parish. In addition, the superintendents and bursars (which are paid positions) replaced the priests who played both roles without being paid. Schools were not only drying up spiritually but also financially under the best manager Buea Diocese has ever had. When Fr. Joseph Awoh became Education Secretary and tried to reverse this disaster, Fr. George Nkeze made sure he was removed before things were exposed. Even the disciples of Machiavelli in politics envy Fr. Nkeze’s Machiavellian tactics.
When Bishop Bibi makes changes to structures and people rise up in arms, it is good for us to find out why. In his tenure in the Education secretariat Fr. George ran a budget of 500 million francs. Who did he account to? How many times was he audited as Education Secretary? Or does the Church have alternative financial management guidelines? Those who benefited from the scraps that fell from the master’s table are the ones calling for priests to strike over Bishop Bibi’s introduction of financial procedure. Some of these priests lining up behind Fr. Nkeze have been heard telling their friends that it is their turn to make their own fortunes. This is the culture Fr. Nkeze brought to the Buea Diocese. Look at the management of schools and colleges and the Education secretariat and CUIB. Where were those who are calling on the priests to strike now when the other priests were marginalised by Fr. George Nkeze and his gang of bandits?
Leadership skills are demonstrated in an individual’s ability to focus the vision and talents of team members with diverse backgrounds, personalities and expertise to achieve a common purpose. If Fr. George Nkeze has a strong point, it is not this one. First, his history so far shows that if you are not related to him by blood or marriage or tribe and do not want to follow him like a goat, he has no use for you, no matter how much you can do for the Church or the institution which he leads. You only have to look at his closest collaborators in the Education Secretariat, CUIB, the University Board of Trustees, and the Foundation in the USA to see this.
If you have to work with Fr. George, you have to be a YES man, show unflinching loyalty to his person and sing his praises. In fact, as a power-hungry priest, while blood and tribe matter to him, sycophancy is the joker if you have to survive in Fr. Nkeze’s kingdom. In CUIB those who expressed opinions different from his own, even if they were expressed in a professional setting, automatically became enemies in the house. Staff spied on other staff and reported back to the boss who made sure those who did not take his side were punished. Staff recorded meeting proceedings and passed them on to the boss. For this reason, staff were hired and fired at the nod of his head and lots of time and money were spent in labour offices and court chambers.
In priestly circles you had to be on Fr. George’s side to get a good appointment. A number of priests who dared to oppose him, even in private (since he had his priest spies), had to pay the prize. They were dismissed from their functions and given assignments seen by most as punishment. Even then, some of those who were on his good books for a long time fell out of favour with him. As we all know, relationships entertained for immediate and ungodly interests do not last long. In his public position in CUIB as in his relationship with priests, he has left a long trail of allies with whom he has fallen out, including some of the priests he ferried to the United States of America. Some of these were sent to the University of Buea to read Educational Administration and others were sent to St. Thomas University in America to read Catholic Studies as reward for their loyalty but always making sure they would not study anything that would enable them challenge their boss intellectually. Where are the priests we are told HE helped train (with his money?) and what are they doing?
The vindictiveness which Fr. George and his followers are showing today has not just started now. Priests who fell out with him told horrible stories of blackmail and backstabbing. Some of those whom he suspected as rivals or as priests who could challenge what he was doing had to be destroyed and pulled down in order for Fr. George to remain the only cock in the compound. As Education secretary, he accused a priest principal for encouraging homosexuality in school. It turned out later that Fr. George had manufactured the story to get rid of a potential rival. It is because of this attitude that some Rev. Sisters and Rev. Fathers who worked with Fr. George in CUIB just escaped for dear life and never went back there. For this same reason, Fr. Aloysius Ndifor, Fr. Javis Kebbi, Fr. Bartholomew Anyawu, Fr. Joseph Awoh and many others had to be discredited, dismissed from their positions in the diocese and sent on exile. So let those who write about mafia and mafia bosses in the Church tell us who the real mafia boss is. And, by the way, if the church is such a mafia except for Fr. Nkeze and Bishop Bushu, why has Fr. Nkeze not abandoned such a devilish institution? What is he still hanging around doing with Mafia Gangs?
The truth about Fr. George Nkeze is that he has used the gullibility of the Bishop Emeritus of Buea to enrich himself and his family and cronies. At some point a bank manager pointed out that a single priest in the Buea Diocese had more money in his account than the diocese itself. How much does he have in his own foreign accounts? This same bishop appointed him Delegate for Special Duties (meaning?), Government and Foreign Missions and he abused the gullibility of the bishop in these positions in ways that are unworthy of a priest. He has not only stolen diocesan money for himself, his family and cronies, he is also using it to pay people to smear every priest and religious whom he thinks might have a good name with ecclesiastical authorities. If Fr. George Nkeze does not become bishop no one else should; if he is not President of CUIB, no one else can sit there. It is either him or no one. His biggest problem, we think, is that he cannot see himself sitting down as a priest and seeing Andrew Nkea as the archbishop and Michael Bibi as Apostolic Administrator of Buea and his Bishop. Jealousy and unfulfilled ambition have led even the holiest in the Church to become agents of the devil and try to destroy the Church from within. Since Fr. George is afraid of becoming Bishop because “they” will kill him, let him continue enjoying all the money he and his friends and family have stolen from the Church. Would he like to become a monsignor instead? Would that satisfy him?
Let us audit Fr. George in his time in Sasse College, the Education Secretariat, and at CUIB. He ordered fictitious audits for Bishop’s financial secretaries when he was “bishop” in everything but the skull cap and brought in his friends who were not qualified as auditors to kick his colleagues out under the pretext that they had mismanaged money. For example, Fr. Francis Ncham, was alleged by one of them to have stolen 500 million francs and he was dismissed so that Fr. George could have his way. How many audits did he carry out at the Secretariat during his time there and during the time of his friends and how many did he carry out in CUIB in ten years as President?
Without Fr. George, CUIB can only be a better place: the wrangling and smear campaigns will stop, the thieving will stop, the hiring and firing will stop, the victimisation of priests and religious and lay people will stop, and the bad blood between staff will stop. Then CUIB will truly become the university all Catholic Christians want it to be, not just a place of hollow slogans and praise singing. Without him, the Buea Diocese will only be a better place because the lightning rod for division among priests and victimisation will have been taken away. Without him the Buea Diocese will be able to save some money and make some progress! So, if he has stolen enough of the money which we Christians contribute every Sunday in spite of the very difficult times, and wants to go, let him go and leave us in peace. Let the Buea Diocese breathe.
Ayuk Bobby Moore
With Contributions from Fri Nwi and Alex Diobe in Buea. We also had extensive discussions from priests in Buea Diocese frustrated by the arrogance and highhandedness of Fr. George Nkeze