Despite incessant efforts by the Independent Authoritative Heritage Newspaper to reach out to the Rhema Christian Ministries International (RCMI) for its response having been in the middle of allegation of illegal land possession, the church has remain tightlipped on the matter.
As land crisis continues to proliferate since the end of the 14-year Liberian civil unrest, various individuals and groups including religious bodies have been caught in the picture of either being the victims or accused.
In the latest case, the Rhema Ministries is being accused by the Howard family of illegally taking over their land situated along the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) Community, along the Roberts International Airport (RIA) Highway in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, October 11, 2021, the Spokesperson of the family, Emmanuel Garneo, asserted that the Church, with the consent of the family, started with devotional services on one of the family’s porches 10 years ago; but has since moved to illegally grab the land by erecting structures without any common agreement.
“We have assembled here to expose the clandestine attitudes of Pastor Matilda Tarr and her husband Apostle James Mende Tarr, owners of the Rhema Ministries International, who have illegally taken over Madam Willietta Howard property located at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) Highway-ELWA Studio Junction, Paynesville City,” stated Mr. Garneo.
“This problem started more than 10 years ago when Madam Howard, who is our [aunt], was still in the United States of America, was notified by her sister-in-law Madam Esther Coleman that Mr. and Mrs. Tarr appealed to have temporary church related activities on their porch. Our [aunt], as a believer, agreed and sent US$500 to assist them recondition the house,” he furthered.
Accordingly, he narrated that upon the return of Madam Howard from the US, several developments had taken place, and as such, she immediately contacted the caretaker (Madam Coleman), who informed that the developments did not mean any harm, but were due to the increasing numbers of church members.
“Pastor Matilda Tarr also assured her that upon the completion of their mission, the property would be turned over. After a while, my aunt was hinted by Pastor Matilda Tarr that as caretaker of the family, there was need to take an encroacher to court, as such authority should be given. Therefore, Madam Howard authorized the power of attorney to be given so as to enable them protect the septic tank area being invaded,” Mr. Garnea explained.
“Not knowing, it was a syndicate masterminded by Pastor Matilda, who is a chaplain of the House of Representatives and Pastor of the Rhema Christian Ministries International, aim to claim a property that does not belong to her,” asserted the Howards’ Spokesman.
He indicated that with all due processes exerted to amicably solve the issue failing to materialize, the family will now begin to take unspecified actions.
Meanwhile, when contacted at the church compound, Apostle James Mende Tarr vowed to response to the allegation levied against the church within at least five to 10 minutes.
However, a team of journalists waited on the return of Apostle Tarr the longest – more than hour without any further notice to the team as he remained in door.