Pastor Nehemiah Martin of Hope International House of Prayer came under attack and criticism from Facebook users following a post by Smart Technology Solomon Islands.
The post stated that Mr Nehemiah claimed himself to be the Chief Education Officer for Accelerated Christian Education (ACE).
It further stated: “On the month of March 2019 he got some electronic items (laptops, mobile phones) from our shop for the organization, worth of $12,000 SBD on credit.
“At the moment we are trying to get contact with him on 7900000 but reject all our calls many times. Just few info from our IT friends he also visit their company claiming to be Town Council tax collector,” the post stated.
The post has since been widely shared and circulated through the social media.
But in an interview with the paper yesterday Pr Nehemiah said there are factual errors in that statement.
He explained the idea of getting those items is for the development of a curriculum for their ACE schools in Malaita.
“We have an understanding with the Smart Technology director which they have delivered to us a laptop and 3 phones,” he said.
He added they have placed the orders thinking that the school affiliation fees would meet the cost, however that was not done as expected so they forwarded the costs to be factored into the budget which is under the education head office in Malaita province.
He confirmed the items are worth $12,000 but due to the delay of payment some of the ordered items are still with the company.
“We won’t get them until we made the payments as we have an understanding on that,” he said.
He said since reading the post, he called one of the company’s directors Edward Kennedy Sitana but he (Sitana) blamed someone within their IT group may have uploaded the post and not him.
“I called one of the directors to get an explanation from them. I agreed to what he told me that if those people have no business to what we have agreed on they should stay away from making defamatory comments against others,” Pr Nehemiah said.
He said Facebook users should stop their defamatory statement against him and seek proper procedure if they think he breaks the law of the country.
When contacted Mr Sitana yesterday confirmed there’s an understanding made with the pastor but its just that the payment is delayed and someone within his office decided to make the post.
But Mr Sitana clarified the company is not responsible for the defamatory statements.
He added its sad that some comments are too extreme and the pastor should take legal action against them.
He said the company is only interested to have that agreement fulfilled soon.
Pr Nehemiah clarified he is not a CEO of Accelerated Christian Education but the current caretaker president.
He said claims of him being a tax collector for the Honiara City Council (HCC) is also untrue.
He added actually he was working under an initiative from ward 4 councillor Dorah Iro to carry out HCC’s Development Strategic Plan Business Assessment survey based on approval from the City Clerk.
“That work is initiated by the ward 4 councilor and is approved by the City Clerk to carry out the survey but not as a tax collector as was claimed,” he added.
The Pastor said in terms of avoiding calls as highlighted, at no time he refused to pick up calls from anyone except few calls last week when he attended a devotion and could not get back due to lack of credit in his phone.
“I still have my phone with me so if anyone has problem with me why not just call me my number 7900000 and talked to me or if you think I have done anything wrong then do the right thing and call the police rather than just make such comment on Facebook,” he said.
He said some commentators even went as far as digging up his past life which he said he has already forgotten about them after seeking God for forgiveness.
“I’m not perfect and I ‘m sure nobody in this world is perfect so why not you just settle down with your own business,” he said.
Pr Nehemiah said he is ready to take legal actions against those defaming his character.
“But I thought it would be good that whoever had bad feelings against me to call me. But if you don’t have any business with me then its better not to make unnecessary bad comments against me,” he added.
Pr Nehemiah said since conducting the business survey, there are lots of businesses who have operated without licenses which is not right and he knew most of them have also contributed in tarnishing his personal character.
The Pastor also defended claims in which some commentators even went to the extend by accusing him for having four children with four women in Vanuatu.
“I want them to provide the evidence of who are the women and the kids,” he expressed.
Pr Nehemiah said he has been patient since the comments were made though his relatives in Malaita want to take revenge against those who swore at him via social media.
He said such defamatory statements should not be encouraged as it really tarnish not his personal life but that of the church he represents as well as the country he represents.
“I was also claimed as a Pastor of Mormon which is not true and I would like to apologise to that church,” he said.
He said he would also like to clear the statement regarding one of his wall posts where he wore a police shirt.
“Thats actually my uniform shirt when I was working with the RSIPF around 1999 as a Special Constable with the mobilising group and also with the RSIPF, I also joined the Close Protection Personnel (CPP) as well as working with traffic officers,” he added.
By IAN M. KAUKUI