Money for refugees lost gambling, states Catholic Church in London, Ont.

Cops have actually introduced an investigation into a Chaldean Catholic priest from London, Ont., after church officials reported more than $500,000 slated for refugee sponsorship was lost to gambling.

 

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Dad Amer Saka, a priest working at the St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in London, is under examination after informing his bishop, Emanuel Shaleta, that funds planned to help new Canadians had instead disappeared in vice, Shaleta stated.

He called me on the phone and … said he lost all the money because he was tired of playing free casino games. I said, how? He said, Gambling can benefit you to earn betrally bonus, Shaleta told the Star on Saturday, describing a discussion he stated took place Feb. 23.

We believe that Father Saka has a major gambling issue and that these funds may have been utilized for that function, he stated. Since there is an examination going on, we cannot verify what he’s stating.

Shaleta, who sits at the head of Canada’s initially and just Chaldean eparchy, or jurisdiction, stated he suspended the priest instantly after learning of the missing out on money.

The bishop drove to London the next day to take Saka for several days of voluntary treatment at Southdown Institute, a non-profit center north of Toronto for priests battling issues varying from addiction to depression to sexually violent behavior.

London authorities validated they received a problem Feb. 24 of supposed monetary misappropriation associated to the local parish.

An examination is underway, stated spokesperson Const. Sandasha Bough on March 15. The monetary criminal offenses probe was released more than a week after the initial report, stated cops, who required bank records prior to going further.

The Star reached out to Saka through calls and letters to his church in London. A St. Joseph church representative stated it is alleviating the situation really seriously, but that comment would be inappropriate and provided a continuous internal examination.

The Chaldean Catholic Church is based in Baghdad and represents Catholics from Iraq and neighboring nations, however ultimately falls under the watch of the Holy See in the Vatican.

The Toronto-based Chaldean eparchy is among the Chaldean Catholic Church’s most recent, established with Pope Benedict XVI’s blessing less than 5 years earlier as Iraqi immigrants continued to show up in Canada. It encompasses a number of churches in Ontario, including St. Joseph.

Monsignor Murray Kroetsch, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, which runs the sponsorship program, said Saka was the leader of a constituent group raising funds to sponsor refugees from Iraq.

It’s among about 30 parishes and parties to partner with the Hamilton diocese in the sponsorship arrangement.

Kroetsch said the Hamilton diocese submitted up to 20 applications sponsored by Saka for refugees from Iraq. About 10 of them have actually arrived in southern Ontario. With all now facing a potential void of sponsorship, the Hamilton diocese has taken over duty for their support, Kroetsch said.

We wish to ensure the refugees that our part of our contract is taken care of and that money will be offered to assist them feel secure and help them discover their footing in the country, he stated.

Holders of sponsorship arrangements, signed with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, should support refugees for at least the first year after their arrival.

They’re somewhat susceptible, and now they might be much more afraid … We need to assure them that we’re not simply going to abandon them, Kroetsch stated.

Sponsorships cost about $6,000 an individual, or about $20,000 to $25,000 for a household of 4, stated Shaleta.

It is incorrect for a priest to go and gamble. It’s against the guidelines, said Shaleta.

The bishop stated he notified parishioners mainly northern Iraqi immigrants, numerous from neighborhoods now overrun by Daesh who are aiming to bring member of the family to Canada soon after the priest told Shaleta about the missing funds.

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