Pastor Ashimolowo loses $5million to scammer

Matthew Ashimolowo

Kingsway International Christian Centre, a 12,000-member megachurch in Britain headed by Nigeria’s Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo, lost $4.8 million to a Ponzi scheme after trustees carelessly invested money in it.

The scam was the brainchild of former Premier League soccer player, Richard Rufus, who used to be a defender for Charlton Athletic. He promised investors along with the church a return as high as 55 per cent.

The Christian Post reporting the findings of an inquiry published 14 December by the Charity Commission for England and Wales revealed that the Kent-based 12,000 members Christian Centre suffered a net loss of about $4.8 million (£3.9 million) after its trustees invested over $6.1 million (£5 million) in four instalments between June 2009 and June 2010 . Mr. Rufus was a member and former trustee of the church.

Mr. Rufus had guaranteed that the investments would earn a sizeable return totalling about 55 percent in a year.He was last year found guilty of defrauding about 100 investors out of a total of $10,731,159 (£8,682,343) in the £16-million investing scheme.

Kingsway International Christian Centre was the single largest investor in the scheme.

The Charity Commission said in the report that the church’s trustees handed over an initial investment and entered into an agreement in which they were guaranteed that investment would earn a profit of about five percent per month, with the exception of August and December when they were guaranteed profits of about 2.5 percent.

“The inquiry established that in practice, however, the investments resulted in a net loss of £3.9 million to the charity,” the report explains.

The report states that the church’s trustees who handed over the funds were guilty of “mismanagement.”

The commission found that the church’s trustees did not “exercise sufficient care when making the decisions to invest £5 million of the charity’s funds through the ex-trustee’s investment scheme.”

“They did not follow all the principles expected of trustees to ensure they comply with their trustee duties under charity law when making those decisions,” the report said.

The Charity Commission was first alerted to the church’s investment when it found that the church made £3 million of investments with a “qualified independent trader” who was “in a position to provide the services of an investment manager by investing in financial markets.”

After the commission contacted the Financial Services Authority to verify the trustee’s status as a trader, it found that the trustee in question was not, nor had he ever been, licensed to “carry on regulated activities in a personal capacity.”

The commission also found that the investments were paid to the trustee’s personal bank accounts. Additionally, the commission found that the investments “appeared to be speculative and high risk in nature.”

As a result of the commission’s inquiry, an interim manager was appointed to review the trustees’ decisions to invest the £5 million and to decide whether any of the trustees should be held personally liable.

The interim manager found that the trustees did not do enough to investigate whether or not the rate of return they were promised was realistic and put too much trust in the trustee’s good standing with the church and community.

“The interim manager found that conflicts of interest were not managed properly by the decision-making trustees when making the decision to invest.

There was too much reliance on the expertise of the ex‑trustee when he was personally interested and conflicted,” the report states.

“The interim manager found that insufficient consideration was given by the decision-making trustees as to whether the guaranteed rate of return was unrealistically high, or to the potential for fraud.”

After the church entered into an Individual voluntary agreement with the ex-trustee in hopes he could pay back the money lost, the ex-trustee filed for bankruptcy and was declared bankrupt in 2013.

The interim manager also encouraged the church’s current trustees to bring a legal claim against the trustees who decided to invest the money.

Read the full report by the Charity Commission here: Inquiry Report

Read more about Richard’s scam In the Telegraph: Richard Rufu



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  • Arabakpura

    Is this not usury? Is this not covetousness? Is it not a form of gambling? And should a Christian church be involved? Are there no better and more genuine ways for a church to invest? This is pure greed!

  • Shahokaya

    Thieves in the name of God. Make we see how una go enjoy for this life and come enter heaven, wuruwuru people. Haba, una see am?
    These pastors all over the world including Nigeria, 99% of them are in the business of preaching God for their own private gains, in fact being a pastor/priest in Nigeria or other parts of the world is the easiest way to easy, comfortable life..Na God go punish all of una.

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  • Abe Lawrence

    Church dey do S’ogun d’ogbon!!

    • Oluseyi Adeyemi

      Na wa ooh

  • Sanssouci

    Yet Pastor Mathew will still keep going around the world pitching to the gullible the power of seed sowing, prophetic offering and tithing. Why not sow a “24 hour miracle seed” and recover your money? The tragedy with Naija is that the followers will soon make up excuses for their “man of God” and justify this. This is even worse than MMM, to have trustees of a church this greedy is mind boggling and says a lot about the pastor himself.

    • Whalerolex

      I believe when these mugus glance through your comment, you will hear things like, “Is it your money” “did we complain to you”, “God will forgive you” “You they jealous the man of God”. Look church business is African cancer. There is no cure for now

  • Funsho Ibrahim

    The money went the way it came. It was a perfect example of retributory justice.

  • Mufu Ola

    The story is false.My theory is that the church is probably trying to evade tax or trying to dupe its members in one way or the other. It’s a cooked up story.

    • Abidilagungun

      Why should a church lie?

      • Mufu Ola

        Why should a church indulge in “money doubling”?

    • Rufus

      i agree. that money may be in Nigeria now. the easiest way is to say they lost it.

  • Mamman Bako

    This tells a lot about this church and the people that make it up. Greed is at the centre of this organisation. A church gunning for 55% interest is astonishing!

  • Nkem

    I have done an informal survey of people I know and worked with over the years and found the the highest proportion of those who participate in the pyramid schemes promising unimaginable returns are Christians, especially of the “born again” genre. This is evidently tied to the primary and overriding motivation of the brand of Christianity that is dominant in this country: The one that is driven by materialism, by greed and by desperate desire for quick and easy wealth. Christians who are attracted to the congregation only because of the lure of liberation theology. CHRISTIANS WHO WANT TO REAP WHERE THEY DID NOT SOW.

  • Comfortkay

    Am very sorry for Nigerian that attends Man made Nigeria Churches, it is all fake in the Name of God.
    We are in the last days and all this must surely come to pass.

    • Opekete

      Not only “man made Nigerian Churches” but man centered Churches all over the world. There is nowhere this predatory scheme more prevalent than the United States. Church members in the US has been scammed severally over the years and people has refused to learn from the mistake of others. God has made himself approachable to anyone who diligently seek him. There is only one intercessor and that is Jesus Christ not any pastor or General Overseer as prevalent in the Christendom today. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. unfortunately people are not interested in the truth. They only want someone to tell them what they want to hear and so they employ teacher unto themselves to tickle their ears. Whoever get scammed with the word of God deserve what he gets.

  • sammyctu ode

    God’s money should not be invested in ponzi schemes. It’s supposed to be used to help the needy. Those who invested this money are crooks themselves and they are not men of God but 419s.

  • realist

    Where did the church get the money in the first place, through direct extortion from gullible members. So it is how the money Came that it goes out. As Yoruba would say ” Ole ji, ole gba

  • dudu

    One thing that can make one susceptible to scammers is simply “greed.” And our man was no different.

  • daniel

    Ashimolowo wasn’t scammed; instead he scammed the system working with a trusted trustee cos he didn’t want to submit to the Charity Commission of UK that regulates how church’s money is spent.

  • otunga

    Scammer scammed by a scammer

  • lol…was this the 38 corporations? lol