More trouble for the Oyakhilomes as U.K. Commission probes Christ Embassy over payments

Chris and Anita Oyakhilome when the going was good.

The imminent breakup of their marriage may be the least of the problems popular mega-church pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, and his wife, Anita, are facing  at the moment as the United Kingdom agency is investigating the UK branch of their church, Christ Embassy, over controversial payments.

The United Kingdom Charity Commission has launched a probe into the transfer of at least N941 million (£3.6 million) by the church to overseas entities between 2008 and 2012.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Charity Commission said it has opened a statutory inquiry to investigate Christ Embassy over “a number of serious concerns relating to the use of charitable funds, in particular large connected party payments and the potential misapplication of grant funding.”

According to the Charity Commission, which is the regulator of charities in England and Wales, statutory inquiries are only opened to investigate “the most serious” regulatory breaches.

The commission said the purpose of the inquiry is to “determine whether there has been any mismanagement or misconduct on behalf of the charity trustees; to establish whether charitable funds have been properly applied and take appropriate remedial action if necessary.”

The investigation was initiated in July 2013, but after interviewing members of the board of trustees and perusing the records and books of the church for a year, the commission was still not convinced that the church has been prudent in managing its finances.

Subsequently, the UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs, has withheld N711.4 million (£ 2.7 million) due to the church in donation between 2008 and 2012 until the conclusion is resolved.

On August 11, the commission effectively side-lined the church’s board of trustees and appointed an interim manager to take over the management of the church.

In what it described as a “temporary and protective measure,” the commission appointed Rod Weston of the international audit and accounting firm, Mazars, to take over the running of the church.

Until investigation is concluded, Mr. Weston would “take over the management of the charity, including its staff, assets, interests, and relations with third parties,” the commission said. He is also expected to discharge the functions of the church’s trustees and take steps necessary to secure and take control of the assets of the church.

The commission however added that the activities of the church would not be suspended by the appointment as the Interim Manager is expected to work with the pastors of the church to ensure its religious and charity activities continue as before.

Curious payments

Although the Charity Commission said it does not provide details of ongoing cases so as not to jeopardize the investigations, PREMIUM TIMES assessment of the case however revealed that the church may have made curious payment worth at least N941 million ((£3.6 million) to individuals and companies closely connected with it.

A study of the church’s financial statements from 2009 to 2012 posted on the Charity Commission’s websites, show that approximately N403 million (£1,572,047) was paid to Love World Limited from the transmission of the church’s broadcast.

Curiously, the sole director of Love World Limited and sole shareholder is one Pastor Obiora Chiemeka who is also listed as a trustee of the church. Mr. Chiemeka was appointed a trustee in 2009, the year the church began to make the payment to his company.

The church also paid an estimated N538.5 million (£2.1 million) as grants to mostly Nigerian partner organisations between 2008 and 2012. On a closer look, PREMIUM TIMES discovered that some of the charges the payments were said to cover were arbitrary, suggesting they might have been used for other purposes other than what they were listed for.

For instance, between 2010 and 2012 a total of N320.4 million (£1.24 million) was paid to Love World Television Ministry, LTM. These payments appear to be a duplication of the payment for transmission of television broadcast paid to Love World Limited. Though the church’s dedicated television station is called Love World Television, it is not clear how Love World Television Ministry differs from Love World Limited. Love World Television Ministry is not listed on the church’s website among the ministries Christ Embassy runs.

Also, in 2009, N9.6 million (£37,785) was paid to the church’s healing ministry known as Healing School. In 2010, N20.5 million (£97,850) was paid to the same school. However, the amount paid to the ministry dropped drastically in 2011 to N346, 072 (£1,350). Then the payment to the ministry shot up astronomically to N25.6 million (£100,000) in 2012.

When PREMIUM TIMES called Christ Embassy’s international office for comments, an official who answered the phone said those who could speak on the issue were not in the office.

The Interim Manager has also not responded to PREMIUM TIMES enquiries.

Like Ashimolowo like Oyakhilome

The investigation into Christ Embassy’s finances is the second time the Charity Commission will be carrying out statutory inquiry into the UK branch of a Nigerian Church.

Between 2002 and 2005, the commission appointed KPMG to act as interim managers to another Nigerian church in the UK, Kingsway International Christian Centre, KICC, founded by Matthew Ashimolowo.

A report released in October 2005 revealed serious misconduct and mismanagement of the church’s finances.

The investigation discovered that Mr Ashimolowo approved payments and benefits for himself and his wife, Yemisi, totalling £384,000. He used the church’s Visa card to make personal purchases including a timeshare apartment in Florida for £13,000. The report also revealed that his wife bought a Bentley with a custom plate number worth £80,000.

Ashimolowo was also paid over half a million pounds to personal companies operating from the church property. The report revealed that some of his companies had unclear business relationship with the church.

The commission ordered him to repay £200,000.

Divorce

Mr. Oyakhilome is locked in a divorce battle with his estranged wife, Anita, who has filed an action at a UK court to end their 20-year-old marriage.

Mrs. Oyakhilome accuses her husband of “adultery” and “unreasonable behaviour”, charges Mr. Chris has denied.

At a recent church meeting, Pastor Chris, as he is widely referred to by Christ Embassy members, warned church members against analysing the squabble between him and Anita as the church is not a political party.

He described his wife as a “bitter and angry” woman who is being influenced by bad friends who are out to seek his downfall. He accused his wife of seeking to overpower the authorities of the elders she met when she joined the Christian ministry.

As the divorce battle rages, Mrs. Oyakhilome’s profile has been pulled down from the church’s website.


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  • Wale

    There you go; the door is now open.
    It’s easier, faster and quicker to go down than to go up.
    let her GO now. she probably has a boyfriend pumping sh**t into her head.
    All the great men in the Bible had more than one wife (woman), Your God given wife would not leave you because of another woman.
    LET HER GO; SHE AIN’T YOURS.

    • UK Charity Commission to investigate Christ Embassy’s misappropriation of donations.

      Another Issue:

      But the Pastor has no marital problems, since Church officials say: all is well.

      OFFICIALS OF THE CHURCH quickly moved to deny any rift between the pastor couple.
      One official, Kenneth Achumasara, told the media [June 2014]:

      “I can tell you authoritatively that there is no issue between Pastor Chris and his wife, Anita… If you go to the UK now you will see her along with the kids. She is still with him and there is no issue between them. I have been with him for 22 years and the Pastor Chris I know cannot even utter such words as reported.” (TheCableNg, Aug-2014: Pastors Oyakhilome’s Wife …)

      A major problem in Nigeria is LYING Pastors and they are bad examples to the country. Men of God (e.g.,
      Adeboye) LIE to Nigerians all-day-long and that contributes to CORRUPTION in Nigeria because many so-called “Christians” are receiving LIES as their foundation.

    • uyi

      Are u for real? Y turn to d bible to cover such hideous crime? Dis pastors live most flamboyant life while dere numbers live in abject poverty, did d bible tell of Jesus living in a Mansion or owning a chariot or fleets of horses, did Ezekiel,Isaiah,Jeremiah,Hosea,Daniel,Elijah,Elisha and co live in such flamboyance, let’s call a spade a spade nd pray to God

  • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

    In the name of the Father!

  • redeem

    Did the britsh not launch an investigation into the funds of Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo e Senior Pastor of KICC for over 15 years. What was the result——discovered later that it was some bad belle Nigerians who tried to set him up————–with the British government————–

    • Schmick Luke

      What testimony??? Sharrap man!! He cheated!! Sherrif and Ihejirika sponsors Boko Haram! Why must you side with the devil?!

      • redeem

        @wahala————————she has no testimony in her life——–Did Clinton not cheat on his wife–are they living separate lives—monkey———-what the almighty Godf has joined to together no man should put asunder————–what was she b4 she met him–a commoner———-Ihejirika is not the sponsor of boko haram and u know it-boko haram was created long before sheriff became governor————

        • Anonymous11443

          You are Otuoke animal.You are an idiot.You cant even reason.

        • Datti

          redeem: this is to echo what Enemona said about you: Nobody takes you serious. You never make any rational point. Time spent with you can be better spent tending to babies’ poo!

    • Enemona

      If you’re sure of Ashimolowo, please tell him to travel down to the UK now. I dare him! He would not see sunlight again for 15 years.

      • Dec

        Stop been ignorant Matthew Ashimolowo just married his Son TOBI few weeks ago. Pls google it. RCCG GO was there to pray for the couple. Also Pastor Matthew is a British citizen .

        • UK Charity Commission to investigate Christ Embassy’s misappropriation of donations.

          Another Issue:
          But the Pastor has no marital problems, since Church officials say: all is well.

          OFFICIALS OF THE CHURCH quickly moved to deny any rift between the pastor couple.
          One official, Kenneth Achumasara, told the media [June 2014]:

          “I can tell you authoritatively that there is no issue between Pastor Chris and his wife, Anita… If you go to the UK now you will see her along with the kids. She is still with him and there is no issue between them. I have been with him for 22 years and the Pastor Chris I know cannot even utter such words as reported.” (TheCableNg, Aug-2014: Pastors Oyakhilome’s Wife …)

          A major problem in Nigeria is LYING Pastors and they are bad examples to the country. Men of God (e.g., Adeboye) LIE to Nigerians all-day-long and that contributes to CORRUPTION in Nigeria because many so-called “Christians” are receiving LIES as their foundation.

        • Datti

          Ashimolowo paid some hefty fine and lost money by paying the bills of the investigations and that of the receiving manager. Please always remember that honesty (integrity) is the best policy in all things we do.

      • redeem

        is he residing in ajegunle now—mumu————————abi adamawa state with boko haram

        • Enemona

          Nobody takes you serious. You never make any rational point. Time spent with you can be better spent tending to babies’ poo!

    • Wähala

      Ashimolowo was eventually deported (or bolted) to Nigeria and for a while, bunked his church under Ijeja-Maryland Bridge where he lay low… certainly, that tout will not dare show his cultish face in the UK again in his life. Took a cruise with all his church members to the Caribean after chartering a cruise liner… ostensible foolishness!

      • redeem

        see how u often expose yr self–u think all can be like u—————very unthinking—-u are enemona–ati schmic luke–soon u will be butter-fly—amadi—mumu

  • Solaside

    Anita, you have been talking! Stop talking to Police!

    • Schmick Luke

      “He who sees and does not talk shall have his reward in heaven” nonsense… Let the guilt be prosecuted

    • Are you saying Anita is the one that called UK Charity Commission to investigate their misappropriation of donations?

      But the Pastor has no marital problems, since Church officials say: all is well.

      OFFICIALS OF THE CHURCH quickly moved to deny any rift between the pastor couple.
      One official, Kenneth Achumasara, told the media [June 2014]:

      “I can tell you authoritatively that there is no issue between Pastor Chris and his wife, Anita… If you go to the UK now you will see her along with the kids. She is still with him and there is no issue between them. I have been with him for 22 years and the Pastor Chris I know cannot even utter such words as reported.” (TheCableNg, Aug-2014: Pastors Oyakhilome’s Wife …)

      A major problem in Nigeria is LYING Pastors and they are bad examples to the country. Men of God (e.g.,
      Adeboye) LIE to Nigerians all-day-long and that contributes to CORRUPTION in Nigeria because many so-called “Christians” are receiving LIES as their foundation.

  • ND

    Church leaders are now business men. This is just a tip of the iceberg. I wish such inquiry should be opened for the nigerian church. The stench from such will suffocate. Unfortunately their coffers will not run dry as ‘miracle’ seeking christian will gladly replenish it.

  • Shahokaya

    4. Anyway, the pledges/offerings/tithes nowadays are not meant for God and His work (catholics still do that i see) but for pastors’ upkeep :children in best schools in and out of nigeria, private jets, choice wines and food, police siren escort and protection (God cannot even protect them anymore) and of course flashy luxurious machines (vehicles) to inspire the poor to think that they too can be ‘blessed’ that way someday forgetting that they (the poor) are the ones actually blessing these ‘criminals on pulpit’ with the gathering of their lean salaries. The day I hear my Priest preach n force pledge on anyone is the day i become a one man church man in ma room

    • redeem

      go and start yr own church and see–think its easy abi–go and try it

      • Shahokaya

        I will not join in the deception. God will judge all of us. Imagine pastors collecting and praying for fraudster and helping our corrupt leaders to siphoned money abroad. Is that a will of God? All the schools and universities built by all this our so called guy men pastors in Nigeria are the most expensive in Nigeria and it is only for the rich men children. May God deliver Nigeria.

  • Enemona

    “The report also revealed that his wife bought a Bentley with a custom plate number worth £80,000.”

    Was there thanksgiving on that day?

    • Psalm 35

      Convenient lies always from such invisible reports. I can assure you that no number plate in the UK is worth £80,000, that is the actual cost of Bentley’s of the lowest spec.

      • tundemash

        stop spreading ignorance, google what you don’t know. Abramovich’s car plate number cost £285,000. Google it.

      • tundemash

        stop spreading ignorance, google what you don’t know. Abramovich’s car plate number cost £285,000. Google it.
        X 1 still remains with Regtransfers uk at an asking price of £500,000 if your pastor is interested.

        The top 3 most expensive number plates in UK are;

        “VIP 1”, £285,000, Roman Abramovich, UK, 2006
        “M 1”, £330,000, Mike McCoomb, UK, 2006
        “F1”, £440,000, Afzal Khan, UK, 2008

  • BlackieUmukoro

    If true he should seek God’s face for forgiveness

    • redeem

      it the woman not the man

      • BlackieUmukoro

        Don’t take sides, just pray for them
        Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

      • UK Charity Commission to investigate Christ Embassy’s misappropriation of donations.

        But the Pastor has no marital problems, since Church officials say: all is well.

        OFFICIALS OF THE CHURCH quickly moved to deny any rift between the pastor couple.
        One official, Kenneth Achumasara, told the media [June 2014]:

        “I can tell you authoritatively that there is no issue between Pastor Chris and his wife, Anita… If you go to the UK now you will see her along with the kids. She is still with him and there is no issue between them. I have been with him for 22 years and the Pastor Chris I know cannot even utter such words as reported.” (TheCableNg, Aug-2014: Pastors Oyakhilome’s Wife …)

        A major problem in Nigeria is LYING Pastors and they are bad examples to the country. Men of God (e.g.,
        Adeboye) LIE to Nigerians all-day-long and that contributes to CORRUPTION in Nigeria because many so-called “Christians” are receiving LIES as their foundation.

  • Dan Fulani

    If this man were a Muslem from Northern Nigeria. Come see me comments.

    • trippi

      A muslim man from the north cannot run a smooth and organised religious organisation like Christ embassy.

      • pheliciti

        You mean an organized religious scam……

      • Yusuf Ismaila

        Trippi, from what you are saying, what is happening at Christ embassy is the best of what an organized Christian religious group can do? That’s unfortunate. I think we should not be careless on religious sentiments. If this people are found guilty they are guilty. My thinking about some of us here is that we try to be defensive on every issue instead of being objective and accept the truth. While some are just arrantly been nonsensical.

  • Olusegun Olawonyi

    Why would Anita be doing all this? If indeed the story is credible and the church or pastor culpable, what benefit would it afford to this obviously angry woman?

    • redeem

      where is her own testimony

    • Are you saying that Anita is the one that called UK Charity Commission to investigate their misappropriation of donations?

      But the Pastor has no marital problems, since Church officials say: all is well.

      OFFICIALS OF THE CHURCH quickly moved to deny any rift between the pastor couple.
      One official, Kenneth Achumasara, told the media [June 2014]:

      “I can tell you authoritatively that there is no issue between Pastor Chris and his wife, Anita… If you go to the UK now you will see her along with the kids. She is still with him and there is no issue between them. I have been with him for 22 years and the Pastor Chris I know cannot even utter such words as reported.” (TheCableNg, Aug-2014: Pastors Oyakhilome’s Wife …)

      A major problem in Nigeria is LYING Pastors and they are bad examples to the country. Men of God (e.g., Adeboye) LIE to Nigerians all-day-long and that contributes to CORRUPTION in Nigeria because many so-called “Christians” are receiving LIES as their foundation.

  • Segun Surulere

    Just goes to illustrate the difference in our two societies where there are laws and regulations in the conduct of public life. In the UK , Churches are non taxable entities and have to be registered as charities . However , there are stringent regulations governing the running of charities and the law frowns on any misuse or maladministration of funds accruing to the charity.
    In Nigeria , anything gies and there is absolutely zero regulation of churches and the huge sums collected from their flock . This has given rise to the absurdities perpetrated by the likes of Okotie who shamelessly and obscenely displays all his immoral chattels … The new Rolls Royce Phantom and fleet of cars , garish clothing and so on ………

  • Folabi Adubi

    Their governments rob Nigerians to their face with impunity and destroy the country.
    Now, Nigerians should pause to look themselves in the mirror and eat humble pie.
    By aggregate, Nigerians will rate as some of the world’s daftest human beings.
    Their oil wealth largesse of the 1970s somewhat confused Nigerians’ thinking.
    They started to see themselves as clever and wise people – which they aren’t.
    Now that the oil largesse is stolen and gone, Nigerians are nude without pride.
    Just about anyone takes Nigerians for a ride because Nigerians are unwise.
    Intelligent people do not need Charity Supervisors to alert them to latent frauds.
    But because Nigerians want sudden wealth without work they scam and are scammed.
    Nigerians don’t think with any moral compass. They merely wander the face of the earth.

    • Dr. Fijabi

      Folabi:

      You are very right. I am myself beginning to have serious doubts

      about Nigerians. They can’t think, yet, they are so loud, ignorant and

      arrogant but without shame or thought – but just existing as statistics.

      Take the supposedly educated Yoruba for example, and, you’ll
      see a gross tragedy. The deepening illiteracy of the Yoruba

      made them easy prey for Bola Tinubu, and, Raji Fashola to dupe.
      As a matter of fact, between 1999 and now Lagos state government
      earned over $40 billion revenues. The money – less salary and running
      expenses – was partly shared between Bola Tinubu and Raji Fashola

      under corporate guise in the worst ever scam in Yoruba history.

      Raji Fashola then had the audacity to announce to all Lagosians,
      that after their obligations to pay taxes the people have no right to demand
      public accounts. What did supposedly educated Yoruba people do?

      They praised Raji Fashola for that gross insult and submitted themselves

      to financial slaughter like supine sheep – held by the throat by dubious civil rights

      and human rights activists who coyly abet Raji Fashola’s non-accountability

      as accomplices, and justify it as the best model the whole world has never seen.

      • odia

        You are talking of Fashola. Come to Ondo State, Nigeria and see how Mimiko is raping them silly. The Ondo people are very proud and loud mouthed but now they are suffering in silence. None of their elite can say a word and the press has been gagged (bribed into silence) . They had Agagu, a methodical governor, but rejected him and brought in this thief. The state is already in debt and is already being sold. Where are the Gbonis, the Falaes and the Fasorantis?

  • Okikiola Beckley

    This won’t deter Mugus.

    • Rocket_TV

      Mugus full naija plenty

      • Segun Surulere

        Mugunomics is a new field of study by Harvard and Yale universities . They are currently seeking qualified academics for tenured pisitions. Salary over USD 2 million per annum . Apply at your peril !!!

        • Rocket_TV

          OBJ, IBB et al are well known valedictorians

  • Abiodun Jejelola

    It is on record that charitable organisations or entities are part of business organisations. The only thing that makes them different is that they are tax exempt, and that is because the inflows that accrues to them comes, as a result of tithes and offerings, or donations.

    Thus, they are fittingly referred to as non profit , or not for profit organisations or, NGO’s, as they are referred to in Nigeria. Any student of Banking, Accountancy and Management Accounting , Economics, Law, Business Law, and Business Administration would know that.

    This, is in fact is one of the basic elements in their foundation papers. However, charities, can set
    up businesses that requires them to buy and sell products and services, as their trustees or board of trustees permits.
    This would be clearly stated in their articles and memorandum of association. And with that, they’ll then pay tax like any other type of business, that are set up for such purposes.

    Then what about the investigation of the charity commission? That may be a routine investigation or there is something that requires it. But, that should not constitute any worry, because, ministries like that of Christ Embassy, may be likened to a Plc in the corporate world, even though they are not so quoted or listed.

    And that means, they must have in house, business managers, professional accountants, tax accountants and also professional bankers (rtred) or not , or students in any of those field of disciplines that are in such
    departments as to ensure that, all aspects of the ministries accounts are properly documented.

    So also, a ministry of this type,i.e. Christ Embassy would have, an external professional firm of accountants and auditors that does it’s books, based on what it’s accounts department must have made available. Also, in most cases such financial statements would have as part of it, notes to the accounts, that briefly specifies and illustrates, usually in note form, what figures on the ministries balance sheet represents.

    Also, because of the level of ministration that a ministry like this or any other of its type has reached, it is customary that the board of trustee would meet to decide on issues of large expenditures, and other matters, as their articles and memorandum of associations, or policy statements dictates.

    Hence, in this case of Christ Embassy, if there has been proper documentations of records, and all expenditures or transfer of funds and use of funds agrees with its mission statement, then truly there should not be any cause for anxiety.

    Additionally, because of the great work that some of these ministries have been recording, you can’t but expect persecutions here and there; but that is part of the package and when that happens it means it is time to ‘soar higher’ on the wings of God’s divine faithfulness.

    These are ministries that has done so much for the Body of Christ – and that is through the graces that has been bestowed on them. Therefore, in moment like this, commitment and prayers are strictly necessary
    and God can’t but reward the righteous for such obedience that is agreement with the righteousness and dictates of the Holy Writ.

    Therefore, the fact that there is an investigation should not be a thing of worry. However, to the ordinary man on the street, he can’t but wonder what is it about; but seriously it is often part of what such an organisation
    or ministries set up demands. I trust that this has been helpful, and also useful!

  • Grace

    @Abiodun, I wish I could educate you more on what the Bible means when it speaks about the LOVE OF MONEY when it says “as a result of this, some have derailed from the gospel of Christ…”

  • Chiedu7

    JESUS IS ABOUT TO SET THE CHRIST EMBASSY MEMBERS FREE FROM THE DECEPTION OF THE OYAKHILOME’S

    The members of Christ Embassy have been fooled for too long, it’s time that Jesus opens their eyes.

    The divorce he is going through is going to open a can of worms

  • Ol’boy

    Please can someone bright remind me of something? What has Pastor Chris’ Christ Embassy done to help
    its church members repel Boko Haram Islamic Jihad? I can’t remember anything he’s done. I only recall that
    he impliedly assures he could heal the Christians wounded by Boko Haram militias though that is un-tested yet.
    And besides, a Chrstians’ prayer for posterity amid Nigeria’s Islamic Jihad is the closest step to rabid neurosis.

  • PrayerIsKey

    I have been in Christ Embassy for several years now and it hurts me to see how even within church some people have turned against Rev Anita. Yet not long ago we all called her Mama. I have heard many stories, especially about Pst Chris… but people talk. Also, many times people talk about those that are actually of importance, whether they can admit the fact tht the person their talking about is important or not is a whole different story. But no one will talk about a “nobody” , I learned this quickly in life.

    Whatever truly might be going on between Pst Chris and his wife, as the body of Christ we ought to pray. Not just for Rev Anita but also for Pst Chris. Every great man and woman will have had to face or will be facing great trials. Our thoughts should not be that of evil, instead as we pray we should declare peace in their lives. As a young lady that got born again and raised in Christ Embassy, believe me when I say that it hurts to see your parents apart … but we should declare love and have faith that God can restore their marriage. May they seek God for forgiveness if they have not done so already. This is not a time to chose sides. This is a time to pray. As a team they have saved the lives of many from the pits of hell, and Satan will do all in his might to scatter the work of God.