Charity Commission investigates finances of evangelical church Christ Embassy

Regulator opened a statutory inquiry in late July after 'a number of serious concerns' were raised about the church, whose trustees include Christian and Anita Oyakhilome

Christian and Anita Oyakhilome
Christian and Anita Oyakhilome

The finances of an international evangelical church ministry called Christ Embassy are under investigation by the Charity Commission.

The regulator said in a statement released yesterday that it had opened a statutory inquiry in late July into "a number of serious concerns" about the ministry’s use of charitable funds.

The commission said it was investigating "large connected party payments" and "the potential misapplication of grant funding" by Christ Embassy, but declined to give further details.

A member of the public raised concerns with the commission in October 2012. The regulator took these up with the ministry but its questions were "not resolved".

The ministry’s UK accounts for 2011 show it had an annual income just short of £13m, of which £12.2m was voluntary income, but spent £8.1m. It had 28 full-time employees and spent £565,000 on staff costs.

Christ Embassy is a registered charity with its UK head office in Folkestone, Kent, but it also has ministries in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Nigeria.

It lists its charitable activities, in the UK and abroad, as advancing the causes of Christianity and Christian education and helping people in need or suffering hardship, as well as building places of worship.

The inquiry will examine any regulatory concerns and decide whether there has been mismanagement or misconduct on behalf of the ministry’s trustees, who include the reverends Christian and Anita Oyakhilome.

The regulator, which has legal powers to demand answers from trustees, will also examine whether charitable funds have been used properly and "take remedial action if necessary".

Christ Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

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