UK closes Nigerian-owned church over financial mismanagement
A United Kingdom High Court has ordered the closure of Salvation Proclaimer Ministries Limited, a church led by Nigeria-born Tobi Adegboyega, over alleged financial mismanagement and lack of transparency in its operations.
In a statement published to the UK government website on Friday, the church, popularly known as SPAC Nation, was said to have been closed “in the public interest.”
The church, according to the statement, was wound up “after failing to properly account for more than £1.87 million of outgoings and operating with a lack of transparency” in the High Court on June 9, 2022 before Judge Burton.
The statement partly read, “Salvation Proclaimer Ministries Limited, more commonly known as SPAC Nation, was wound up in the public interest in the High Court on 9 June 2022 before Judge Burton. The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator of the company.
The court heard that SPAC Nation was incorporated in 2012, a charity set up to advance Christianity. Much of its charitable work was based in London, working particularly with vulnerable people, youth, and offenders.”
While noting that SPAC Nation, which was incorporated on 10 September 2012, initially had positive reviews and media attention, the statement said the church “was subject to media scrutiny following allegations by former church members they had been financially exploited by senior church personnel” by late 2019.
“Initially, the church group received positive reviews and media attention. But by late 2019 SPAC Nation was subject to media scrutiny following allegations by former church members they had been financially exploited by senior church personnel.
The Insolvency Service received complaints about SPAC Nation before instigating its own confidential enquiries into the church group’s activities,” according to the statement.
The statement further said the church failed to comply with statutory requirements and made claims without providing supporting information.
It stated, “Investigators interviewed one of the company’s directors, Adedapo Olugbenga Adegboyega, who was also known as Dapo Adegboyega or Pastor Dapo. During interviews, Mr Adegboyega said that the church group had over 2,000 members and 200 ordained ministers and pastors but failed to provide any supporting information.
“Further enquiries found that SPAC Nation either failed to comply or only partially complied with statutory requirements, including providing data to support claimed donations, and accounting records in support of £1.87 million of expenditure.
“The company’s financial statements in the two years to 31 December 2019 set out £610,000 of rent expenditure. However, the company did not have a single base of its own and would hire venues across London to hold services, at significant expense.”
“Salvation Proclaimer Ministries Limited was wound-up after the court concluded the company operated with a lack of transparency, filed suspicious or incorrect accounts, and was insolvent at the time of the hearing.
“It was also recognised that the company provided inconsistent information to the Insolvency Service and Charity Commission, and failed to deliver up adequate accounting records.
“The company remains subject of a statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission, who are examining financial, governance and safeguarding matters at the charity,” the statement added.
The Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, Edna Okhiria, was quoted by the statement as saying, “While SPAC Nation claimed it had noble intentions to support vulnerable and young people, our enquiries uncovered a different side of the charity. There were clear concerns around how the church group managed its affairs and SPAC Nation failed to properly account for income received from donations and other expenditure.
“The court recognised the severity of SPAC Nation’s actions and this sends a strong message that proper records and accounts must be maintained, even if you’re a charity.” Culled: Punch.