The finances of Christ Embassy as a charity in England & Wales are under investigation by The Charity Commission, regulator of charities in England and Wales. Trustees of the charity include Pastor Chris Oyakhilome; Rev (Mrs) Anita Oyakhilome; and other pastors. Some of the aims of the charity include providing to the public ministry materials such as books, audio tapes and DVDs; sponsoring the charity’s uplifting programmes on satellite TV where millions are being reached; reaching out to the sick and needy people with the free distribution of the daily devotional “Rhapsody of Realities”, gift items including food and clothing and grants to partner agencies or charities.
Right now, all seems not to be well with the charity as an Interim Manager, Mr Rod Weston of Mazars has been appointed to the exclusion of the charity’s trustees as a temporary and protective measure. Going by reports, the commission is investigating “large connected party payments” and “the potential misapplication of grant funding” by Christ Embassy, but has declined to give further details.
According to the statement by The Charity Commission, “In July 2013, the regulator opened a statutory inquiry into the charity to investigate a number of serious concerns relating to the financial management of the charity, including in particular large connected party payments. Since then a books and records inspection has been carried out and the regulator has obtained information from and met the trustees, however, the regulator’s concerns about the financial management of the charity have not been resolved.
“The appointed Interim Manager will: take over the management of the charity, including its staff, assets, interests, and relations with third parties; discharge the functions of a charity trustee of the charity to the exclusion of the current charity trustees of the charity; and take any steps necessary to secure and take control of the assets of the charity. The religious activities of the charity are not affected; the Interim Manager is taking steps and working with the pastors to ensure this remains the case. Before now, the Commission had been examining various concerns about the charity. These were not resolved and on 29 July 2013 the Commission opened a statutory inquiry using its powers in s46 Charities Act 2011. A member of the public had raised concerns with the commission in October 2012. The regulator took these up with the ministry but its questions were “not resolved”.
Additional reports claim that the charity’s UK accounts for “2011 show it had an annual income just short of £13m, of which £12.2m was voluntary income, but spent £8.1m. It had 28 full-time employees and spent £565,000 on staff costs”. The inquiry is to examine any regulatory concerns and decide whether there has been mismanagement or misconduct on behalf of the ministry’s trustees. Having the legal powers, the Commission will demand answers from trustees, and also examine whether charitable funds have been used properly and “take remedial action if necessary”.