Leaked ECFA report on Gospel for Asia paints damning picture of financial mismanagement

KP Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia, pictured in a February 2015 video from Kerala.YouTube

A former board member of the troubled Gospel for Asia ministry has released documents from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability investigation into the organisation which paint a damning picture of huge amounts of money being amassed with little control over where it was sent.

Gayle Erwin resigned from GFA's board after he felt that efforts he was making to try to bring change to the organisation had failed.

Among the documents now in the public domain is the official ECFA report to GFA. Among many other criticisms, the report notes the "excessive cash balances held in partner field accounts". Told during a site visit that the field partner reserves were approximately $7million, they discovered that the figure was approximately $186 million and had been as high as $259 million.

The report also criticises delays in sending funds to the field, with most of the money raised through the year only going to India at the end of the year. It criticises the tone of appeals, referring to "the level of urgency communicated in GFA donor appeals", which did not match the urgency displayed in actually using the money. The authors reviewed one appeal that said: "One blanket, like the one Hetaksh received, will literally make the difference between life and death for them and especially for their small children and elderly relatives."

The report also questioned GFA's oft-repeated claim that it did not control the activities of the Believers' Church in India. It said that information provided to it by GFA proved to be inaccurate or was not revealed by GFA until late in the review process.

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The revelations, posted by blogger Warren Throckmorton, will come as a blow to the organisation, which has sought to downplay the signficance of its removal from membership by ECFA.

A number of donors have indicated that they will no longer support the organisation.

While the ECFA report is damaging to GFA, Throckmorton has also pursued the question of what he says are nearly £130 million in donor funds that US audits claimed were sent to India but which did not show up in Indian public records. Throckmorton wrote: "Just after being terminated from ECFA membership, GFA told the public that 'no findings of money missing' came from the ECFA investigation. Having the ECFA report, it is clear that ECFA did not thoroughly examine multiple years of discrepancies between what GFA said they sent to India and what was reported in India to the government."

He challenged GFA to "provide documentation about the large and growing discrepancies over the past decade".

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