These are trying times for Nigerian Born Naturalized British famous pastor, Matthew Ashimolowo, General Overseer of Kingsway International Christian Centre, a former top pastor in Four Square Church. This smooth-talking pastor and his church are being investigated by City of London police for Fraud.
According to report, officers of the City of London police are investigating an alleged fraud involving a former premier league footballer who lost £3.9 million from Kingsway International Christian Centre, owned by Ashimolowo. This footballer lost the money to one of Britain’s richest evangelical churches in a “disastrous investment scheme”.
The criminal investigation follows a Charity Commission report into “mismanagement” at Kingsway International Christian Center (KICC) which invested £5 million with Richard Rufus, former Charlton Athletic player.
Rufus was found by a civil court judge in 2015, a civil court judge indicted Rufus for operating a Ponzi-style scheme between 2007 and 2011, losing or spending £8 million from several investors.
Rufus was a leading member of the KICC. Rufus whose “founder, visionary and senior pastor” is Matthew Ashimolowo, a Nigerian evangelist who preaches a “health and wealth” gospel to a congregation of thousands at his “Prayer Palace” in Kent. The largely African and Caribbean churchgoers are urged to give regular tithes and the church collected £5.8m from them in 2015, according to the latest accounts.
Quoting documents it obtained, the newspaper said the church, which is populated by Africans and Caribbeans, collected £5.8 million from its members in 2015.
In 2009 and 2010, the trustees reportedly agreed to give Rufus £5 million to invest after he promised them returns of 55 percent a year at a time when interest rates were less than 1 percent.
As well as millions in donations from churchgoers – which were boosted by gift aid tax relief – it had recently received £10 million from the London Development Agency, a public body that needed to demolish the church’s then home in east London to build the Olympic Park.
“Detectives from City of London police’s fraud teams are investigating,” a police spokesman confirmed. There have been no arrests.
In a damning set of conclusions published in December, the Charity Commission said the trustees “did not exercise sufficient care” when they gave Rufus the church’s money.
The regulator said they failed to check if Rufus had any investment qualifications or experience and gave little thought to the extraordinarily high rate of return Rufus was promising.
The church’s senior management team concluded his “personal guarantee makes this as safe an investment as any” and produced a report on the investment that included no checks on Rufus’s past investment performance or any references from clients. For the records, it is the second time the Charity Commission has had to investigate the church.
In 2005, when it was known as the King’s Ministries Trust, the regulator ordered Ashimolowo to repay £200,000 after it emerged he used church assets to buy a £13,000 Florida timeshare and spent £120,000 on his birthday celebrations, including £80,000 on a car.
New trustees were appointed and Ashimolowo was removed from his role as chief executive. Recently, KICC issued a statement of Ashimolowo in the deal.
The statement signed by Dipo Oluyomi, chief executive officer and James McGlashan, chief operating officer for the church said the investment was made seven and a half years ago.
KICC admitted that its trustees made the decision to invest in the scheme, but said Ashimolowo had nothing to do with it.
Source: The Cable