UK charity commission declares Pastor Chris Oyakhilome's Christ Embassy church insolvent

BRITAIN'S Charity Commission has declared the UK branch of Christ Embassy owned by popular Nigerian televangelist Pastor Chris Oyakhilome insolvent after investigations into its finances revealed that it is unable to clear its debts.


Pastor Oyakhilome's ministry admitted in its belated 2015 financial statement, it last annual return, which it published in 2017, that its subsidiary, Christ Embassy Limited, with net assets of more than N1bn (£2m) entered into liquidation on November 1, 2016. On its website, the UK Charity Commission confirmed this, flagging Christ Embassy as charity insolvent.


"The charity cannot pay its debts as they fall due for payment and the value of its liabilities exceeds its assets. Charities will be flagged as insolvent on our register when we are made aware of an insolvency situation and we are provided with verification from a qualified, independent insolvency practitioner.” the commission explained.


The church’s present financial problem is another episode in a series of crises that has plagued the church since 2013. In 2014, Pastor Oyakhilome lost a fierce power tussle over the church in the UK with his ex-wife, Anita, who was the head of the UK branch.


Pastor Oyakilome presided over the charity’s board of trustee since inception until he was forced to resign in 2014. In 2013, the UK government set up an inquiry into possible financial misplacement of the church’s fund between 2008 and 2012.


Government-appointed auditors later raised eyebrows over suspicious payments worth N2.14bn (£4.28m) made to companies and organisation closely related to the church in 2013. A peep into the church's financial history showed that Christ Embassy started bleeding about 16 months before Pastor Oyakhilome was removed as a trustee.


In 2012 Christ Embassy, UK was in perhaps its best position financially as its membership was growing in multiples and donations including tithes and offerings were ballooning. New chapters were opened all across the UK like in England, in Bridgend, Peterborough, Swindon, Stockton and a third chapter in Manchester, while in Scotland, new chapters were opened in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow.


That year, its expenditure was N4.49bn (£8.88m) and the church had an income of N8.43bn (£16.72m), which left it with a surplus of N3.96bn (£7.84m) excluding a gift of over N1bn (£2m) in net assets donated to it by its subsidiary, Christ Embassy Limited. However, problems started after the church turned in its financial statement in 2013 showing income was N7.1bn (£14.1m) representing a drop of N1.3bn (£2.6m) from the income of the previous year.


However, its expenditure rose drastically to N8bn (£15.9m), which is an increase of N3.5bn (£7m). Thus, from a surplus of N3.96bn (£7.89m) the previous year, the church slumped into a deficit of N961.6m (£1.9m).