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UK shuts down Nigerian-owned church over fraud

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A UNITED Kingdom (UK) High Court has ordered the closure of Salvation Proclaimer Ministries Limited, also known as SPAC Nation, a church owned by Nigeria-born Tobi Adegboyega, over alleged financial mismanagement and lack of transparency in its operations.

This decision was revealed in a statement issued by a UK government agency, The Insolvency Service, after a High Court ruling by Judge Burton.

“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 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”, the statement read.

SPAC Nation’s financial statements set aside £610,000 for its rent expenditure, but the church did not have a base of its own and hired venues across London to hold services at significant expense, the court stated.

Edna Okhiria, the chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, confirmed that while the church initially had positive reviews and media attention, evidence obtained from allegations from former employees revealed otherwise.

“While SPAC Nation claimed it had noble intentions to support vulnerable and young people, our enquiries uncovered a different side of the charity.

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“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 expenditures,” he said.

After allegations about the church came to light – having been first reported by HuffPost UK, the Metropolitan Police and Charity Commission launched investigations into its activities.

There were also claims its pastors allegedly pressured young people in the congregation to sell their own blood to raise funds in a practice referred to as “bleeding for seed”.

SPAC Nation was renamed Nxtion Family in June 2020, a month after head pastor Tobi Adeboyega announced he was stepping down as leader, though he has remained at the helm of the organisation.

According to the statement, “The Insolvency Service received complaints about SPAC Nation before instigating its own confidential enquiries into the church group’s activities.”

The statement said the church failed to comply with statutory requirements and made claims without providing supporting information.

“Investigators interviewed one of the company’s directors, Adedapo Olugbenga Adegboyega, who was also known as Dapo Adegboyega or Pastor Dapo.”

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During interviews, 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.

“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 adequate accounting records.

“The company remains subject to a statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission, which is examining financial, governance and safeguarding matters at the charity.

“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,” the statement added.

Author profile

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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