On September 22, leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Argentina were detained in connection with containers of undeclared electronic goods brought into the country. The alleged smuggling saw at least one leader of River Plate Adventist University arrested by Argentina's federal police.
The Argentina Union Conference issued a statement, saying that the church was fully cooperating with an investigation into charges that Adventist leaders attempted to smuggle in $15,000,000 Argentine Pesos worth of undeclared electronic goods to avoid paying import tarrifs. The union is now conducting its own investigation with a commission established to look into what transpired. In a letter dated October 31st, Executive Secretary Roberto O. Gullón wrote to the staff members to outline the process:
Dear Members of the River Plate Adventist University (UAP) staff:
By this means I want to reach everyone with my personal greeting. We are all aware of the exceptional moment that our institution is going through. This situation is painful and saddens us, and it leads us to reflect not only on what happened but on what our actions and procedures should be.
Direct denunciations and indirect hints, from both the judiciary and the media, have been serious and beyond the on-going legal processes. As a Church, we want this situation to be clarified internally in a clear and objective manner.
For this reason, the Board of the Argentine Union has established a commission whose objective is to investigate what happened, studying the internal administrative processes, in order to identify possible faults and/or possible culprits if any.
With the objective that the task to be carried out is the most even possible, this commission will be composed of members from various fields. Those members are:
President of the Commission: Secretary of the UA: Roberto O. Gullón
Secretary of the Commission: UA Education Director: Gabriel Boleas
Members of the Commission:
1 retired pastor: Manuel Carlos Ramos
1 Lay brother: Rubén López (Treasurer Igl. Santa Fe Centro)
1 Institution administrator: Arnoldo Schlemper (SAP)
1 administrator of the ecclesiastical area: Ivan Heinze (AAC)
1 district minister of LSM: Ricardo Zambelli
For the work of this Commission will be of utmost importance the collaboration of you, as members of the staff of the UAP, because they know in depth the daily activity of the Institution. The personal contribution will be of great value in order to discern what is being done correctly and what will have to be changed and/or improved. For this reason, it is requested that those who have reliable information on the subject in question share it with the Commission.
In order to guarantee the confidentiality of shared information, contributions can be channeled in three ways:
1. In writing by e-mail addressed directly to the President or Secretary of the Commission. These e-mails are personal and non-institutional.
2. Through personal interviews with the president and secretary of the Commission on days and times to be confirmed. These interviews will be carried out either by the individual initiative for being a member of the UAP staff or by request of the Commission. To coordinate the interview, the communication will be through the above mentioned e-mail addresses or through direct personal contact.
3. Through personal interviews with some of the members of the Commission residing in Libertador San Martín:
In this third way, the initiative to inform or coordinate an interview should come from the UAP staff member. From the reception of this letter, those who wish it and have something to contribute can feel free to go through the means mentioned above any of the members of the Commission. Everyone can be sure that what is shared, whether by e-mail or verbally, will be analyzed by the Commission, preserving the identity of the people.
The Commission's commitment is to work within a framework of transparency. And the results of such work will be informed in a timely and timely manner.
I am sure that with the help of all, and with the guidance of our good God, the UAP will be able to continue with the extraordinary task that has been doing for more than 100 years.
Thank each of you for your prayers. I leave with you the following challenge from God with the ensuing promise: “Trust in the Lord and do good; Then you will live safely in the land and prosper” (Psalm 37:3).
With Christian appreciation,
Pr. Roberto O. Gullón
Argentine Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
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