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The United Kingdom’s Charity Commission, the agency that regulates charity organisations in U.K, has declared a U.K branch of Christ Embassy, owned by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, broke and insolvent.
In the belated 2015 financial Statement of the church which was published in 2017, the church admitted that its subsidiary, Christ Embassy Limited, valued with a net asset of more than N1 billion (£2 million) entered into liquidation from November 1, 2016.
On its website, the Charity Commission flagged Christ Embassy as “charity insolvent”. According to the commission, a charity is considered as being insolvent when it is “unable to pay its debts.”
“In practice there are two separate tests for insolvency and failure of either might be an indication of insolvency: The charity cannot pay its debts as they fall due for payment; 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 crisis that has plagued the church since 2013.
In 2014, Mr. Oyakhilome lost a fierce power tussle over the church in the UK with his ex-wife, Anita. Though she, now known as Anita Ebhodaghe Schafer, was the head of the UK branch of the church, Mr. Oyakilome presided over the charity’s board of trustee since inception until he was forced to resign in 2014.
After he was kicked out of the church’s board of trustee, the former flamboyant couple went their separate ways in a bitter divorce five months later.
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 N2.14 billion (£4.28 million) made to companies and organisation closely related to the church in 2013.
Dwindling income, increasing expenditure
Though the Charity Commission did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for further details about the circumstances leading to the church being declared insolvent, a peep into its financial history shows that the church started bleeding about 16 months before Mr Oyakhilome was removed as a trustee of the church.
In 2012 Christ Embassy, UK was in perhaps its best position financially. Its membership was growing in multiples and donations including tithes and offerings were ballooning. New chapters were opened all across the UK. In England, new chapters were opened in Bridgend, Peterborough, Swindon, Stockton and a third chapter in Manchester. Similarly, in Scotland, new chapters were opened in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow.
Though in the year, its expenditure was N4.49 billion (£8.88 million), the church had an income of N8.43 billion (£16.72 million), which left it with a surplus of N3.96 billion (£7.84 million) excluding a gift of over N1 billion (£2 million) in net asset donated to it by its subsidiary, Christ Embassy Limited.
“The ministry is therefore in a comfortable position to meet all financial commitments and projections for the coming year,” the church boasted.
The first whiff of problem appeared after the church turned in its financial statement in 2013. The church’s income was N7.1 billion (£14.1 million) which was a drop of N1.3 billion (£2.6 million) from the income of the previous year.
However, its expenditure rose drastically to N8 billion (£15.9 million), which is an increase of N3.5 billion (£7 million). Thus, from a surplus of N3.96 billion (£7.89million) the previous year, the church slumped into a deficit of N961.6 million (£1.9 million).
Despite the drastic slump in income, the church was still optimistic about its future: “The Ministry remains in a comfortable position to meet all its financial commitments and projections for the coming year,” it stated.
In 2014, the church’s income continued on its downward trajectory while its expenditure stayed high. Its income dropped to N6.7 billion (£13.2 million). But due to cuts in its expenditure, the church managed to make a surplus of N506 million (£1 million).
In 2015, Christ Embassy took its biggest hit. Income for the year was N2.3 billion (£4.7 million) from the N6.7 billion (£13.2 million) the previous year, while expenditure rose to over N5 billion (approximately £10 million). Thus, its deficit for the year amounted to just over N1.7 billion (£3.2 million).
The fees paid to Rod Weston of the international audit and accounting firm, Mazars LLP, who was appointed by the Charity Commission to take over the management of the church, may cause the increase in the church’s expenditure in 2014 and 2015.
The ministry’s annual return for both years indicated that a total of N7.6 billion (£15.1million) was paid to the interim manager. The church still has an outstanding fee of N1.1 billion (£2215,914) to pay the interim manager in 2015.
When reached for comments, an official of the church, who refused to identify himself, was furious that this newspaper wanted to do a story about the church.
“Why do you need the information? What story? Who gave you the story to work on? Why are you calling?, he asked.
When told that ethically journalists are required to talk to the subjects of their stories to write balanced reports, he said there was no need to ask the church any question.
“If you are a journalist and you got your story from anywhere why do you need to balance it, you go ahead. There is no need to clarify,” he said.
Worried by the ministry’s sudden increase in expenditure, on 11 August 2014, the Charity Commission side-lined the church’s board of trustees and appointed an interim manager, Rod Weston of the international audit and accounting firm, Mazars, to take over the management of the church.
Before setting aside the church’s board of trustees, the commission had discovered controversial payments worth N1.8 billion (£3.6 million) to foreign entities between 2008 and 2012.
The Charity Commission explained at the time that the statutory inquiry would 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”.
The commission said the church might have been imprudent in managing its finances.
Subsequently, the UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs, held back N1.36 billion (£2.7 million) due to the church in donation between 2008 and 2012 until the conclusion is resolved.
But details of the 2013 financial statement, which was approved on January 22, 2016 show that the church’s suspicious spending did not stop in 2012.
Jacob Cavenagh and Skeet, the independent auditors, discovered that part of the church’s £15.9 million expenditure in 2013 was made to companies and organisations with close relation to the church.
The auditors particularly raised eyebrows over the N1.35 billion (£2,679,980) paid to Loveworld Limited for transmission of the church’s broadcast. Interestingly, a trustee of the church, Obioma Chiemeka, is the director and sole shareholder of Loveworld Limited. Mr Chiemeke, a pastor, however resigned as a trustee on October 15, 2015.
Also, purchases worth N22.7 million (£44,925) were made from Ventaja Ltd for decorating and the construction of a stage. The auditors discovered that a pastor of the church, Tony Obi, was the sole shareholder of the Ventaja and his wife Georgine Obi, an employee of Christ Embassy, was a director of the company. Mr Obi, however, resigned as a trustee of the church on November 6, 2015.
The auditors said they were also not convinced about the reason for a grant of N506.9 million (£1,000,973) given to Healing School, Canada. A trustee of the UK branch of the Church. Ray Okocha, a reverend, is also a trustee of Healing School Canada.
Healing School is the branch of the church in charge of faith healing and miracles sessions. It regularly hosts events in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Toronto, Canada.
The auditors said they could not obtain “complete and accurate” information on the transactions because the church could not provide explanations and information they requested during the audit.
“The audit evidence available to us are limited because we were unable to obtain sufficient evidence to enable us to conclude whether material amount of expenditure made by the charity were charitable expenditure,” the auditors stated.
“The audit evidence available to us are also limited because we were unable to obtain complete and accurate information on related parties. As a result of this we were unable to determine whether further disclosure of related parties and related party transaction should be made in financial statement.
“The audit evidence were also limited because a number of explanations and information requested during our audit could not be provided,” it said.
Application Deadline: February 21st 2018
British Council in collaboration with the
African Storybook Initiative invites writers and illustrators to participate in a
residential workshop for the production of mother-tongue based multilingual storybooks. The workshop is a component of the broader Story Making West Africa project which aims to promote the arts, education and mother-tongue based multilingual education in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Story Making West Africa workshop pilots an initiative to create stories in indigenous languages and is an opportunity for individual West African writers and illustrators to contribute to the production of these storybooks at any African Storybook reading level, in indigenous languages and English.
Workshop Output 1: Up to 20 draft story manuscripts with ten manuscripts selected for publishing. Each manuscript will consist of 12-page stories in at least two languages (an indigenous African language and English).
Workshop Output 2: Illustrators draw and colour five sets of illustrations (that is, five story manuscripts).
The 5-day workshop will bring together participants in Abuja, Nigeria from 12 to 16 March 2018 from Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Ghana and will be facilitated by trainers from the African Storybook initiative. The workshop will be fully funded by the British Council inclusive of travel, accommodation and a small stipend as per diems.
Applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:
HOW TO APPLY
Interested writers and illustrators must be a resident of any West Africa country living and working in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal or Sierra Leone; and are required to complete the online application meeting the criteria above using this link https://goo.gl/T8eFfa by midnight 21 February 2018
Only successful applicants will be contacted by 1st March 2018
Selected participants must be available to travel for the workshop from 11th to 17th March 2018 and must be able to get a short term insurance to cover their stay in Nigeria
Illustrators will be expected to attend the workshop with a laptop installed with their preferred illustration software.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme was launched on 1st January 2015 to identify 10,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years, with ideas that have the potential to succeed.
Mentoring is one of the core pillars of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. The Programme assembles world-class volunteer mentors, from across Africa and globally, who will guide
the selected mentee entrepreneurs towards business success.
Commencement Date: May 1st 2018
Mentors are selected for their demonstrated expertise, passion and alignment to the programme’s vision and mission. The engagement between each mentor and mentee
(entrepreneur) is developed and sustained within a closed mentorship and online learning portal; where mentors will provide dedicated support to encourage the development and application of entrepreneurial skills in their assigned mentee.
The outcome of this comprehensive framework is to develop the identified mentees
to become successful businesses that will grow and create up to 1 million jobs and contribute
$10 billion in revenue to the African economy.
The following are required of Mentors:
Complete the mentor registration form that will be part of the mentor’s profile on the mentoring and learning portal, hereby granting the Foundation, unrestricted access to the information provided.
Consent to being matched with up to four mentees by the portal administrator based on information provided in the registration form.
Commit to a one-year term and a minimum of 4 hours per mentee per month for the first three months from May to July and 2 hours per month for the next five months from August to December.
Commit to delivering mentoring sessions through the programme’s mentoring and learning hub for which access will be given upon acceptance. Consent to contributing articles and learning content for the online resource library. Consent to having a social media profile on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.
Must not be an applicant on the entrepreneurship programme or currently receiving funding from the Foundation.
Mentors are required to have the following characteristics to be considered for the mentoring role:
Substantial experience in business and supporting new entrepreneurs i.e. a successful business owner or middle to high-ranking career executive
Ideally have a track record of helping others grow and develop
Possess a passion for entrepreneurship and/or business operations
Strong listening skills and self-awareness
Ability to share successes and failures in order to help others learn
Must be at least aged 30 and/or have at least eight years business or Managerial experience.
March to April : Mentor Selection & Matching
May – July : 12-week online business training for selected entrepreneurs (with mentor support), Portal access to Mentoring & Learning Platform
October : TEF Entrepreneurship Forum (for Entrepreneurs, Mentors and Key Entrepreneurship Ecosystem stakeholders)
August – November : Entrepreneurs complete their business plans (with mentor support )
December : End of Year Announcements
Christina Aguilera may have been feeling a little “dirrty” because she hopped into the tub for a very public soak.
The Grammy winner stripped down for an unexpected photo shoot in a bathroom and shared the racy photos with fans on social media Thursday.
In the series of black and white pictures, the songstress poses in a rectangular tub with wet blond hair and a bare, dimly lit background. In one shot, the star is covered in suds while in another, Aguilera uses her arms to keep things PG-13 rated. For the final image, she’s in a rounder tub surrounded by bath goodies and sporting a dark smokey eye.
The photos popped up out of the blue and, unfortunately, Aguilera didn’t offer much of an explanation in the caption beyond an emoji of a water droplet.
Could the stripped down shots be at all related to the new album she’s been teasing for what feels like forever? Late last month, the songstress assured her devoted fans her next album is “coming b–tches” after one very curious fan left a clever message for her on her Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
“Dear Christina Aguilera,” the fan wrote using pieces of paper strategically placed on the star. “Where the f–k is the new album?”
If new music was not the inspiration for the latest images, maybe she was in a sultry mood given Valentine’s Day on Wednesday.
Whatever the case, her fans are loving the update.
As one follower commented, “STRIPPED 2.0.”
Kanye West has settled the $10 million lawsuit over his canceled Saint Pablo Tour, according to reports.
The Grammy winner canceled the remaining dates of his Saint Pablo Tour back in November 2016. “The remaining dates on the Saint Pablo Tour have been canceled,” a rep for West told E! News in a statement at the time. “Tickets will be fully refunded at point of purchase.”
E! News later learned that exhaustion was to blame and according to an insider, West was working around the clock on various projects including fashion designs while also trying to make sure to spend time with family.
Months later in summer of 2017, West and his touring company, Very Good Touring, filed a $10 million lawsuit against Saint Pablo Tour insurers Lloyd’s of London.
In court documents obtained by E! News in August, West’s team alleged breach of contract and breach of good faith and fair dealing.
“More than eight months later, the insurers have neither paid on the multi-million dollar claim nor denied the claim,” Kanye’s team stated in court documents. “Nor have they provided anything approaching a coherent explanation about why they have not paid, or any indication if they will ever pay or even make a coverage decision.”
The attorney representing West’s touring company in the lawsuit, Howard King, told Rolling Stone in a statement Wednesday that “the dispute has been amicably resolved.”