‘Synagogue Church members have nothing to hide’

The church has rejected an inquiry’s findings that it be investigated and face criminal prosecution.

FILE: The collapse of a building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations left 116 people dead. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Synagogue Church of All Nations says its members have 'nothing to hide' in the deadly collapse of its Lagos guesthouse.

The Nigerian tragedy in September saw the death of 116 people, 81 of them were South Africans.

The church has rejected an inquiry's findings that it be investigated and face criminal prosecution for neglecting to obtain the proper planning approval before construction started.

The church's Bally Chuene says other forces were at work in the tragedy and the world won't understand this.

"The devil was at work from a spiritual perspective. But let's come to your physical world; the coroner completely ignored the fact that the building collapsed in under four seconds and not one particular beam that stood."

The church says the Nigerian coroner's verdict is "irrational" and the inquiry excluded crucial evidence which clearly points to sabotage.

Chuene says the guest house collapsed due to a "spiritual" intervention.

"You hear some of the family members who are spiritually enlightened, how the death of their martyrs has had a significant spiritual impact and what they've seen from their vision. From a spiritual perspective you get to understand."

The church says CCTV footage of a plane that flew close to the guest house minutes before it caved in was never considered before the coroner reached a conclusion.

NIGERIAN INVESTIGATORS TO BUILD CRIMINAL CASE

Nigerian investigators are expected to start building a criminal case against the church for the deadly collapse.

Pastor TB Joshua was the only witness summoned to appear before the inquiry who failed to do so.

There was also no finding directly against the pastor but only against his church.

Recommendations suggested that an investigation must now be launched into the church and the construction company responsible for alterations.

The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria Lulu Mnguni said, "The church must be investigated and prosecuted for failing to obtain the relevant approval before embarking on the construction of the building."