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New boss for fraud inquiry

CHURCH INQUIRY: Dr Daniel Olukoya founded MFMMI in 1989

FOLLOWING THE findings of a statutory inquiry into leading church denomination Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International (MFMMI), a charities regulator has installed an interim manager to oversee its operation.

A spokesperson from the Charity Commission explained the work that the interim manager will undertake at MFMMI.

“The duties include reviewing the charity’s financial and governance processes, inspecting a number of the charity’s branches and their handling of serious incidents,” said the spokesperson.

“The interim manager assumes these duties at the exclusion of the charity’s trustees; the trustees retain control over matters relating to religious activities.”

The commission looked into MFMMI following a number of concerns in March. These included the repeated late filing of financial information, including annual accounts, and a failure in the administration which resulted in opportunities for significant financial losses to the charity.

The commission was also concerned over the trustees’ unwillingness to report serious incidents.

Accounts for MFMMI for the year ending December 2017 showed that the charity’s income was £4,734,448. MFMMI was founded in 1989 in Nigeria by Dr Daniel Kolawole Olukoya and it has branches throughout Africa, Europe and America. The church has 68 UK branches listed on its website.

The church is renowned for a focus on spreading the gospel and a fervent approach to prayer.

Its website states that they aim to “build an aggressive end-time army for the Lord”.

During the initial Charity Commission survey last year, it was found that there were two alleged incidents of fraud by former employees involving significant sums, both of which were not reported until a number of years after the frauds were discovered. Only a small amount of the funds have been recovered.

The commission has expressed concerned over the charity’s chair of trustees and his personal handling of serious incidents.

The commission also has questions over the governance of the charity.

Three trustees are paid, which is in breach of the charity’s governing document and causes conflict when employment matters are discussed.

Despite the commission’s continued engagement, the trustees are still not complying with their legal duties – this includes failing to submit accurate financial accounts on time.

The commission’s inquiry continues.

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