South Africa threatens to jail Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

Chris-Oyakhilome

The South African government has threatened a jail term for Chris Oyakhilome if his church, Christ Embassy, fails to release its financial records, the South African-based News24 is reporting.

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities said several religious leaders in the country could be jailed if they fail to comply with the demands of the commission.

‎The commission said it was investigating the commercialization of religion and abuse of people’s beliefs and had summoned several churches to appear before it with their ordination certificate, registration certificate, bank statements, and annual financial statements from 2012.

Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said the commission had been forced to take a legal route because some of the church leaders had failed to comply with her commission’s directive.

“Some of these religious leaders will face prison if they do not comply and we have been clear about our course of action,” Mkhwanazi-Xaluva told News24.

“Some religious leaders have also threatened the commission, which is leading us towards the legal route.”

Mr. Oyakhilome, the founder of Christ Embassy, had indicated he would take a legal action to stop the commission from forcing it to open his books, according to Ms. Mkhwanazi-Xaluva.

Christ Embassy had earlier sought an extension of time to enable it review its financial records.

Ms. Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said they were also considering filing charges of intimidation against religious leaders who had publicly threatened the commission.

She wondered why some pastors would take money from their followers and, yet, refuse to provide their financial records.

“These people take money from people,” she said.

“What are they doing with that money? We want to know. We will not back down.

“‎If he (Mr. Oyakhilome) intends on that route, we are ready‎. He will have ‎to face the same fate as the others who refuse to hand over their financial records.”

While most of the old traditional churches – including the Catholic church,‎ the Methodist church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Lutheran Church – had requested an extension of time; a lot of the new breed churches had threatened court action.

Earlier this month, a South African pastor, Paseka Motsoeneng, ‎told the commission he would rather go to jail than hand over his financial records.

Mr. Motsoeneng (popularly known as Mboro), the head of Incredible Happenings Church, is known in the country for his healings and miracles.

“Now the headlines will be saying ‎Mboro has R10 million in his account…. I have enemies. Now they will know my strength and weakness… I want to protect myself, my church and my ministry so I have to look and consult thoroughly with my lawyers,” he said.

“For my belief, I will be glad to go to jail. Even now, I can be taken there.”

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  • StormRider1

    Due legal process must followed on this case. If there are genuine issues found with taxes & financial reporting then Pastor Chris and others should pay the required fine to settle the matter.

    • alex

      Fools!!!……is pastor Chris forcing his members to give him money? People are giving to pastor Chris willingly… How would pastor Chris release his financial records his he a politician ? God punish you guys!!! I give to Christ embassy and I will continue …I’m not complaining why then r u worried?December 7th is pastor Chris birthday and people will still give…..so south Africa go relax….

      • tundemash

        Dunce if you like, donate your mother, sister and wife to Chris Oyakhilome make he wack them, that is your wahala. JUst as u are free to donate anything you own to Oyakhilome so also are the South Africa Authorities justified to make sure every entity that operates in that country complies with the law.
        What he has been asked to do is comply with the law of the land. Open the church account books for the authorities !

        • Burbank

          LOLz..

      • aisha ani

        Chris should comply or get out.

  • Alhajivinco

    Criminal pastors, them all.

    • Joe

      typical Nigerian alhaji. you have boko to contain with and that is your fruits. every tree produces its kind.

  • Conerned Nigerian

    May God help his true church!

  • Dazmillion

    Please jail Oyakhilome and TB Joshua. South Africa will not be in this situation if the Nigerian authority had done there job over here.

    The other South African Pastor Moro said “I have to look and consult thoroughly with my lawyers”. I thought it would be Jesus that you would consult in times of trouble if truly you claim your church is of God?

  • Nwa_Afrique

    Tit-for-tat. Nigeria hammered MTN, South Africa wants to retaliate by hammering Nigerian churches in their land under the guise of this commission. The battle is about to get messy.

    • aisha ani

      I don’t think this is the same thing.

  • Emeka Femi Usman

    Its about time Nigeria take the same step.. We must know how much these pastors rake in from their members of the church and what exactly they use the money for. Pastors are not afraid to ask money from church members. They shouldn’t be afraid to tell the government how much they worth and how exactly they have been spending the money. How much of these funds goes to the propagation of the gospel and how much goes to frivolities and show ups?

  • REDEEM

    Very misleading headline—-leave the churches alone–that is not our trouble–pls—-it is greed that is pushing government officials to look into their finances————–

    • Peter_Edo

      you will see evil and call it good, i pity you

  • Contact Point

    I think the Nigerian Government should borrow a leaf from the South African government on this, because these pastors have really destroyed what religion stands for. I have said it and i repeat that if i find myself in the position of authority, I must make some churches to pay taxes and levies. I am a Christian but believe me some of our pastors have so confused people that this days, every old man or woman in your village is a ‘witch’ or ‘wizard’ troubling the your future.

  • shola

    All these so called “man of god” are in actual fact “man of money” Nothing but charlatan, exploiting the fools and the vulnerable.They must pay 90% tax of their money making factories.

    • MK

      I couldn’t agree more…majority of them own private universities and charge exorbitant fees beyond the reach of their pauperised members. Arent the churches supposed to be Non – profit organisations?

    • YK

      They are god of men because they have colonized the thinking faculty of their gullible followers as you can see some headless chickens here questioning why SA should demand for accountability.

  • Joe

    ”What are they doing with that money?”

    answer: to preach the gospel all around the world and bcos Nigerians gave, south Africa was able to receive the message of salvation. South Africa must also give so that other nations can also receive the gospel. madam Ms. Mkhwanazi-Xaluva you are on fruitless journey. Better look elsewhere. Nobody ever fought church and win.

    • Burbank

      “Nobody ever fought church and win.”

      Protestant’s Martin Luther vs Roman Catholic Church?
      Thomas Cromwell’s Anglican vs the Vatican?
      China’s Communist Party wiping out Christianity from China?

  • Bimbola

    I fully support what South Africa is doing. Here in Europe, every church discloses its financial records in accordance with the state Law, particularly here in the Uk, it is subject to independent audit. why is Africa different. If there is nothing fishy going on, people should not be afraid to open their financial records. This is not about public declaration of assets it is about the economy of the country, probity and accountability. I guess these are the values that religion teaches.

    • aisha ani

      Money laundering is what’s going on.

  • Comicbishop

    It would only make sense to actually prosecute the church leaders if members had earlier reported about financial mismanagement. While this woman may be curious about what the monies are being used for, she should also remember that people willingly give those monies. If you were to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, it may be difficult if not impossible to estimate the benefit to the giver of giving the monies in church. Where the church is accused of performing fake miracles, then they can be investigated and prosecuted for deceit. I understand that several known ministers live flamboyant lifestyles but I also believe the call for prosecution and investigation should be from the members. Some churches also run profit-making organisations like schools, hospitals, etc. These businesses should then be the focus of the commission.

    • SamPsalm

      No, it should not be. Churches are registered by government and on that basis they get to use banking and other critical infrastructure. And acquire properties. They even get to buy and sell without paying VAT or taxes. And all they are required to do? Keep proper accounts of money received and show that you have used them towards advancing objectives you claimed you were being set up to advance your lawyers to swear affidavits at the Corporate Affairs commission. Account of non-profit should be open both to their members, government and the public they are registered to serve. Anyone who cannot get that is being mysterious. There is nothing anti-Christ about that. remember Christ used to sit beside the offering box and count away .The temple tax under the old testament was not a subject of mystery. There was a mode for collecting and recording it. It was that transparent long ago

      • Comicbishop

        Good argument

      • Burbank

        Beautiful points.

  • Spencer Anienwelu

    When Jesus said give unto Ceasar what belongs to him I believe it was to do with scenarios such as this. The fact is that the original churches such as the Catholic and Anglican in the West are seen as charities, and even charities have to be transparent and have their books open on request by the tax man. It’s no surprise that Nigerians most especially in their ignorance would defend and uphold such tax evasions. The fact is that church has now become big business and the proprietors Of these major conglomerates peddling “Jesus” will do anything to keep the tax man in the dark, about how they use the proceeds. It’s about time Nigeria also starts demanding tax from the Religious venture sector. Enough is enough

    • aisha ani

      About time too!

  • udoudo mama

    But, are the members complaining? Iam not defending any bad church anyway, but u should know that church is a voluntary organization and not a democratic structure. My dear, a good church was meant to spread the gospel of Christ throughout the world. Dont start any controversy in the church

    • yetundeonigbogi

      But the same church enjoys a lot of government waivers because it is considered a charity. Why can’t she be willing to open her books for the government, to prove that the special treatment enjoyed from government is not being abused or misused? While I understand your perspective, I think we need to understand that there is a moral burden on churches not only to preach transparency but to show it by example.

      • udoudo mama

        Church is a different setting from the examples you are giving, because, for instance, no born-again christian can complain about his leader who stole offering. The member has fulfilled his part, but if the leader does not, it is left for him and his God

        • yetundeonigbogi

          Lol…seems you don’t understand what it means when a church is classified as charity. It means the church will be exempted from tax duties on virtually everything she buys. Whereas, other organisations that are bound by tax laws will have to pay taxes on whatever they buy towards their operations, imported or locally, the church does not have to pay taxes. For instance, if a church buys a bus for evangelism, imported or not, they don’t have to pay all the extra charges on top of the net cost of the vehicle because they are tax exempt. The reason is because they are considered as charity organisations engaged in humanitarian services. It is usually assumed that churches have a way of giving back to the society. Unfortunately, the excess funds that accrue to churches, since they have no tax obligations, have become a source of wealth for most Church founders and supreme leaders.

          While a christian may not engage in lofty and unproven.allegations against his pastor, it’s important to note that members equally have the right to demand explanations and clarity on Church finances. This has nothing to do with being born again or not.

        • Burbank

          Justifying tax evasion crimes by those using the church as a charity cover?

    • Burbank

      Just because a victim is not complaining does not mean that no crime occured – a man having consensual sex with a minor is still a rapist under the law, even if she is NOT complaining.

      A gambler throwing away his money in an illegal betting gamble is still breaking the laws, even though no one is complaining.

      A bribe giver and a bribe taker is still breaking the laws, even if no party is complaining.
      Two men having sex is still breaking our laws, even though both men are not complaining.

      • udoudo mama

        Church is a different setting from the examples you are giving, because, for instance, no born-again christian can complain about his pastor who stole offering. The member has fulfilled his part, but if the church does not, it is left for him and his God

        • Burbank

          So those children abused by the peadophile church leaders should not complained about their sexual abuse?

          Avoidance of income tax under the guise of charity is a serious crime – even Jesus said so.

          “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”
          Matthew 21-22

  • Joe

    While it’s obvious that SA wishes to take it’s pound of flesh after the mtn saga, such a commission is long overdue in Nigeria too. There’s too much criminality in the name of God. Just as a church’s chatter is non-profit making, so should it’s balance sheet accord with the chatter. Pastors should earn their personal fortunes to buy private jets instead of buying from church funds.

    • yetundeonigbogi

      Nigerians and conspiracy theories again?? What has MTN saga got to do with asking churches to open their books? By the way, is this order affecting Nigerian congregations alone? Why don’t we learn to make comments in context?

  • Etomi

    Interesting!!!

    Before long Chris would be bolting back to Nigeria!

    These guys have no shame….

  • SamPsalm

    Churches are registered by government as nonprofit and on that basis they get to use banking and other critical infrastructure. They acquire properties without taxes. They get to buy and sell without paying VAT or taxes. They receive massive import and other duties waivers – some running into billions for heavy machineries, musical recordings and materials for publication. They also get to receive charitable donations in massive amounts. And all they are required to do? Keep proper accounts of money received and show that you have used them towards advancing objectives they claimed in their forms they were being set up to advance when their lawyers were sent to swear affidavits at the Corporate Affairs commission their behalves. Account of non-profit should be open both to their members, government and the public they are registered to serve. Churches and Mosques inclusive. In fact they more than any other should welcome transparency and accountability. Anyone who cannot get that is being mysterious. There is nothing anti-Christ about that. remember Christ used to sit beside the offering box and count away .The temple tax under the old testament was not a subject of mystery. There was a mode for collecting and recording it. It was that transparent long ago

  • Kelechi Deca

    This is simply a headline crafted to generate traffic or the woman of the Commission singled out Christ Embassy equally to attract attention.If whosoever is heading Christ Embassy in South Africa requested to be given an extension, at what point did the request transformed into taking legal action against the Commission. And to attribute that to Pastor Chris simply because he is the head of the organisation is misleading. The Church first and foremost is an international organisation with a just a South African concern and has South Africans running it in South Africa.

  • Kofi Adu-Boahen

    I hope they lock every money-grubbing one of these folks and throw the key into the nearest ocean. The prostitution of the Christian faith by these men is shameful.

  • chunga

    why only churches which of the traditional herbalist have they investigated? South Africans are too jealous