Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican takeover of an elite Catholic society in Peru whose founder is accused of sexually and physically abusing children and former members of the group.
The move, according to a statement that was released by the Vatican, is the latest step in a saga that has damaged the reputation of the Catholic Church in Peru.
It comes a week before Francis is due to make his first visit as pope to the country and Chile as victims of sexual abuse said that he has not done enough to stop root it out.
The credibility of a commission he formed in 2014 has been severely damaged by the defections of senior members who accused the Vatican of dragging its feet.
The Vatican said the pope had appointed an administrator to run Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), whose founder Luis Figari, a layman, is due to go on trial in Peru for the sexual abuse of minors later in the year.
However, Mr. Figari has denied wrongdoing.
An internal report by the group in 2017 concluded that Mr. Figari, who founded it in 1971 and headed it till 2010, and three other high-ranking ex-members, had abused 19 minors and 10 adults.
Most of the cases took place between the 1970s and 2000.
The report, published on the group’s website, describes Mr. Figari as a charismatic, authoritarian and cult-like leader who publicly humiliated members as part of his strategy to control them.
Peruvian authorities opened an investigation into Mr. Figari in 2015 following the publication of a book into the alleged abuse written by Peruvian investigative journalists, Pao Ugaz and Pedro Salinas.
Mr. Salinas once belonged to the ultra-conservative Sodalitium, whose members include businessmen, writers and politicians from Peru’s upper classes and was founded as a part of a backlash to the “Liberation Theology”, which took sides with the poor.
The Vatican statement said the pope had been following the group’s situation “with worry” for years and had taken the action “after a detailed analysis of all the documentation”.
It said the pope was concerned about “the gravity of information regarding the internal system, (religious) formation (of members) and economic and financial management”.
The Vatican move came a month after a lawyer for victims said a public prosecutor was seeking pre-trial detention for Mr. Figari and three other former leaders of the group.
The Vatican, which officially recognised the group in 1997, however, in 2017 prohibited Mr. Figari from having any contact with members.
The takeover of the SCV was similar to the action the Vatican took against another conservative group, the Legionaries of Christ.
An administrator was appointed to run the Legionaries after its founder, the late Mexican priest Marcial Degollado, was discovered to have been sexually abusive with a secret family.
The Vatican said the SCV would be run by a Colombian Bishop Noel Buitrago.
2020 Finance Bill Exempts Minimum Wage Earners From Tax: Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the recently proposed 2020 Finance Bill will exempt workers earning the minimum wage from paying tax.
Buhari disclosed this on Monday in a speech delivered virtually by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the opening session of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit Group Conference themed: “Building Partnerships for Resilience.”
“We are proposing in the new Finance Act that those who earn minimum wage should be exempted from paying income tax,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
“These provisions which complement the tax breaks given to small businesses last year will not only further stimulate the economy but are also a fulfilment of promises made to take steps to help reduce the cost of transportation and the impact of inflation on ordinary Nigerians.”
Nigeria Will Exit Recession By First Quarter Of 2021 – Finance Minister
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has revealed that Nigeria would emerge from recession in the fourth quarter of this year or by the first quarter of 2021.
Speaking on Monday at the ongoing 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab said the current recession would be short-lived.
She blamed COVID-19 for the current recession, saying it followed the pattern across the world where many countries had entered an economic recession.
“Nigeria is not alone in this, but I will say that Nigeria has outperformed all of these economies in terms of the record of a negative growth,” Ahmed said.
Court Remands Nigerian Senator, Ali Ndume, In Prison
Senator Ali Ndume, the lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial district has been ordered on Monday by a federal high court to be sent to prison.
The order follows his inability to produce Abdulrasheed Maina, the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Task Team, whom he stood as surety for in his corruption and money laundering trial.
The high court, sitting in Abuja was presided over by Justice Okon Abang and ordered Senator Ndume to be remanded in Kuje correctional centre.
Justice Abang, however, gave three conditions upon which Ndume can regain his freedom namely payment of N500m bail bond into the Federation Account of the Federal Government and present evidence of such payment in court or the FG sells the property situated in Asokoro, Abuja which Ndume pledge as security for the bond and present evidence of sale and payment of the N500m realised into the Federation Account or he (Ndume) produces Maina, who is believed to have now jumped bail, in court.
Shortly after the pronouncement by the Judge, Senator Ndume was led away from the courtroom by security operatives.
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