UK commission uncovers huge fraud in Nigeria’s Christ Embassy church

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The Christ Embassy and its board of trustees have been indicted for financial misconduct by the United Kingdom Charity Commission after a five-year-long investigation into the church finances. The church’s founder, Dr. Chris Oyakhilome, presided over the charity’s board of trustees since inception until he was forced to resign in 2014.

The British government had in 2013 set up an inquiry into the possible financial misplacement of the church’s fund between 2008 and 2012. In a report published on its website, the commission said its inquiry concluded that there was serious misconduct and mismanagement in the church’s administration, inadequate recording of its decision-making processes and failure to comply with its grant-making policy.

The commission said it opened an inquiry into the church to investigate transactions between the church and “partner organizations,” administration; governance and management of the charity; financial controls and management of the charity and if the trustees had complied with their responsibilities under the charity law.

It said the Christ Embassy had between 2009 and 2011, paid substantial grants to organisations classified as “partner organization.” The commission said: “The church’s account showed that grants totalling £1,281,666 were paid to Loveworld Television Ministry; £118,995 to Healing School, £186,616 to International School of Ministry, £10,000 to Christ Embassy Canada, £10,566 to Christ Embassy France, £37,216 to IPPC Conference and £77,266 to Rhapsody of Realities.

“However, after examining the church’s records, the interim manager (IM) found no evidence of compliance with the church’s grant-making policy in the documents examined. “Documents examined showed a lack of records and receipts to account for grants made and there appeared to be little consideration given to whether the receiving parties had expended grants appropriately and for intended purposes, as was required by the policy.

“This demonstrates a failure to comply with its grant-making policy and inadequate recording of decision making by the trustees which is misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity.”

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