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Ponzi Scheme Gulps KICC’s $4.8m | Inquiry Finds Church Trustees Guilty of Mismanagement

BellaNaija.com

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Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, Founder & Senior Pastor of KICC

Kingsway International Christian Centre, a 12,000-member megachurch in Britain headed by Nigerian Pastor, Mathew Ashimolowo, lost $4.8 million to a Ponzi scheme after trustees carelessly invested money in it.

The scam was the brainchild of former Premier League soccer player, Richard Rufus. Rufus was a defender for Charlton Athletic. He promised investors along with the church a return as high as 55 per cent.

The Christian Post, reporting the findings of an inquiry published on December 14 by the Charity Commission for England and Wales revealed that the Kent-based 12,000 member Christian Centre suffered a net loss of about $4.8 million (£3.9 million) after its trustees invested over $6.1 million (£5 million) in four installments between June 2009 and June 2010. Rufus was a member and former trustee of the church.

Rufus had guaranteed that the investments would earn a sizeable return totaling about 55 percent in a year. He was last year found guilty of defrauding about 100 investors out of a total of $10,731,159 (£8,682,343) in the £16-million investing scheme.

Kingsway International Christian Centre was the single largest investor in the scheme.

The Charity Commission said in the report, the church’s trustees handed over an initial investment and entered into an agreement in which they were guaranteed that investment would earn a profit of about 5 percent per month, with the exception of August and December when they were guaranteed profits of about 2.5 percent.

Rufus Richard: masterminded the Ponzi Scheme

Rufus Richard, Mastermind the Ponzi Scheme

“The inquiry established that in practice, however, the investments resulted in a net loss of £3.9 million to the charity,” the report explained

The report states that the church’s trustees who handed over the funds were guilty of “mismanagement.” The commission found that the church’s trustees did not “exercise sufficient care when making the decisions to invest £5 million of the charity’s funds through the ex-trustee’s investment scheme.”

“They did not follow all the principles expected of trustees to ensure they comply with their trustee duties under charity law when making those decisions,” the report concluded.

The Charity Commission was first alerted to the church’s investment when it found that the church made £3 million of investments with a “qualified independent trader” who was “in a position to provide the services of an investment manager by investing in financial markets.”

After the commission contacted the Financial Services Authority to verify the trustee’s status as a trader, it found that the trustee in question was not, nor had he ever been, licensed to “carry on regulated activities in a personal capacity.”

The commission also found that the investments were paid to the trustee’s personal bank accounts. Additionally, the commission found that the investments “appeared to be speculative and high risk in nature.”

As a result of the commission’s inquiry, an interim manager was appointed to review the trustees’ decisions to invest the £5 million and to decide whether any of the trustees should be held personally liable.

The interim manager found that the trustees did not do enough to investigate whether or not the rate of return they were promised was realistic and put too much trust in the trustee’s good standing with the church and community.

“The interim manager found that conflicts of interest were not managed properly by the decision-making trustees when making the decision to invest. There was too much reliance on the expertise of the ex‑trustee when he was personally interested and conflicted,” the report states.

“The interim manager found that insufficient consideration was given by the decision-making trustees as to whether the guaranteed rate of return was unrealistically high, or to the potential for fraud.”

After the church entered into an Individual voluntary agreement with the ex-trustee in hopes he could pay back the money lost, the ex-trustee filed for bankruptcy and was declared bankrupt in 2013.

The interim manager also encouraged the church’s current trustees to bring a legal claim against the trustees who decided to invest the money.

Read the full report HERE.

26 Comments

  1. Amaa

    December 29, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm Comments start rolling in?. God cannot be mocked that’s all I can say.

    • God delusion

      December 29, 2016 at 11:08 am

      He’s mocked every hour on insta for a start!!! I mean what do you think he’ll do? He hasn’t lifted a finger to help starvation, the molested etc but someone mocking him will awake him and spring him into action? Lolz

    • LemmeRant

      December 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      I guess you’re expecting manner from heaven and birds from the sky to end starvation.

    • God delusion

      December 29, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      @lemmerant.
      Why not?He did it for his ‘chosen people’ (damn the rest). He’s all powerful…nothing is impossible etc etc

    • Fleur

      December 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      I am surprised pastor Ashimolowo allowed this

  2. Mo'Diva

    December 29, 2016 at 10:54 am

    God!!!!

  3. Zeeebby

    December 29, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Why were they trying to double God’s Money? Please correct me if I am wrong oh …. but isn’t the offering an tithe money to be left alone to run the house of the Lord and carry out other charitable works? So who was going to keep the 55% return? The Trustees or God?

    • LemmeRant

      December 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Totally on point…

      Greediness on top of Church money. Just goes to show they don’t view the money as God’s but as theirs.

  4. Omoté

    December 29, 2016 at 11:19 am

    This has got nothing to do with ‘ touch not God’s anointed’. A couple of people at the helm of affairs made bad decisions based on greed (in this case a whole lot of greed) and lost money. They should be held accountable.

  5. mz_danielz

    December 29, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Bella Naija, hmmmm………….. anything for the comments

    • Anon

      December 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Nigerians are clearly the first to worship God. Meanwhile look at our country. We are cowards and we can never challenge the government, abusive parenting, teachers, religious bodies etc No o let’s clap for them and keep kissing their ass. Money donated to them by struggling members of the congregation. We think it’s by judging gay people and women that leave abusive marriages aka divorcees that makes us religious

    • Ajala & Foodie

      December 29, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      FYI: BELLA NAIJA IS AN ONLINE MAGAZINE!!!!!
      I am sick and tired of people making comments like this!!! @ Mz danielz, when BN writes a piece pertaining to religious organization you get responses like yours. In case, you have somehow missed it…BN is an online magazine, i.e an media outlet and that means they report news, irrespective of the news affiliation to a religious body. Should news outlet such as Daily Mail, BBC, Sahara. et. al. report this news would your response be the same???

      Desist from getting your panties in a bunch because it is about your pastor or a pastor you look up to. This men are not exempted from the law or the news because they have a major following. In fact, it makes them more susceptible to having their business reported and I am not certain this has anything to do with Pastor Matthew A himself.

      “Sweeping things under the rug” has been the downfall of many churches in the western world, i.e your sin will eventually find you out (Numbers 32:23). So we need to stop all this hypocrisy as Christians, the church is not perfect and that is ok. What should set us apart is applying the same word, principle and grace to everyone regardless of their following, (if this one a small church somewhere, most responses will probably label the head of the church and its trustees false prophets). No one would quote “touch not my anointed” or having problems with BN reporting it!!!

  6. Marks

    December 29, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    In Yoruba, it is called ‘ole gbe, ola gba’- Thief stole it, thief collected it’…

    • Californiabawlar

      December 29, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      ??

    • Mohammad

      December 30, 2016 at 4:10 am

      Or cunning man die, cunning man bury am

  7. Somto

    December 29, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    The man behind the Ponzi scheme Rufus is a long standing member of the Church and community. It’s called brotherly love ?‍♂️ Ask God for Wisdom and you shall be given. Mumuish People.

  8. Spunky

    December 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Tongue tied.

  9. BRain

    December 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Anoda chance for Dr Freeze to talk, dont know why men of “God” are fucking up this time… God have mercy

    • LostInSpace

      December 29, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      End time…

  10. Yeyeperry

    December 29, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Yet some people are already saving the money they want to put in MMM when ‘it comes back’ when will we learn? Our people and greed!

  11. www.Festus.Ng

    December 29, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Where is the holy spirit in our churches? Holy spirit is a guide and a judge in Christendom. Have we relegated the holy spirit who is supposed to guide our decisions? What baffles me is the rate at which many pastors are engaging in get rich schemes. Even my own Pastor here in Nigeria did MMM. Holy spirit please come back to our churches if you have left.

  12. Hummy

    December 29, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Upon all his teachings on Winning Ways, Pastor Matthew fell to the trap of a Ponzi Scheme! Freezen I’m waiting for your writeup about one more yahoo yahoo pastor

  13. Razz N Bougie

    December 29, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    I guess they should have Refused brother Rufus?

    Sorry for the awful pun. I couldn’t help myself. ?

  14. e mi ni

    December 30, 2016 at 9:56 am

    but seriously….. this news is over a year old…. report is 2014, newspapers in england were reporting on this in 2015. why are you reporting this now bn? it’s like you went searching for bad news to report on a large church so decided to report a story from over a year ago. The trustees in kicc were clearly foolish and i am sure based on the appointment of an interim manager and the report they have learnt from their mistake.
    But you need to seriously examine yourself, because this ‘news story’ speaks of your lack of journalistic integrity. You didnt even attempt to add anything new to this story. Did not attempt to reach out to kicc at least to find out an update on what has happened. Whether they have learned from their past mistakes. You just decide to post an old news story so people can vilify the church and God. That’s wrong. What you sow you shall reap.

  15. e mi ni

    December 30, 2016 at 10:05 am

    my bad…. just looked at the report…. it was published on 14 december 2016….. your article created the impression that the report was december 14 as in december 2014.
    In any event….. this was news in daily mail, guardian etc in 2015….
    Sorry for accusing you of collecting an old news story.
    For 2017, BN, please think seriously about changing your news editor or recruiting a very good one. The grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in the articles this year have been ridiculous.

    • Lol

      December 31, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Get over yourself abeg!

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