Well, The British Press are on him again. This was how they reported him then – Swashbuckling tele-evangelist and founder of the Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) Nigerian-born Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo has been accused of serious misconduct and mismanagement in his London base.
He is expected to repay £200,000 (about N52 million)to the British government. Below is how the story was reported by the Evening Standard of London under the headline “Flamboyant pastor must repay £200,000.
The pastor of one of Britain ‘s biggest churches will have to pay back more than £200,000 after the Charity Commission found evidence of “serious misconduct and mismanagement.”
Matthew Ashimolowo, the founder of the Kingsway International Christian Centre, and his family lived rent-free in a house owned by the charity. He also used the charity’s credit card to buy a £12,000 timeshare in Florida and ran a commercial business from church premises. Among benefits he received was a £120, 000 birthday party, of which £80,000 went on a Mercedes.
An investigation concluded that leaders of the Hackney-based independent church, which encourages worshippers to donate one 10th of their salaries, had mismanaged its £8.5 million income. The Charity Commission said trustees’ personal interests should not conflict with their duties and charity assets should only be used for stated purposes.
The church was set up 20 years ago with a congregation of 17, but now has 12,000 worshippers. Nigerian-born Mr. Ashimolowo, 53, is popular for recorded sermons with titles such as “Let’s Talk about Sex” and “Sweatless Wealth” and preaches that faith will lead to riches. Millions have been donated in tithes to the church. Mr. Ashimolowo and his wife received £384,601 between October, 1992 and September 2000. £338,344 of which was paid into one of his companies for “pastoral services.”
The church was taken over by receivers in 2002 after a routine Charity Commission visit led to concerns about governance.
Inspectors found boxes containing invoices, cash and cheques being loaded from the finance office to a car. The trustees had delegated almost all-control to a pastoral board including Mr. Ashimolowo and his wife Yemisi. The charity was given back the control of the church in March. It is now a charitable company rather than a trust and Mr. Ashimolowo’s new contract insists he pay back £200, 000.
The church told The Times the Commission said it was happy with the new structure. It said: “The church is moving forward and we remain committed to our vision for expansion.”
Mr. Ashimolowo now wants to build a 10,000 capacity arena for the church on land earmarked for the 2012 Olympics.