Wednesday, August 19, 2020 4:14 pm
Many church leaders and threatening fire and brimstone over the Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAMA, that gives the supervising minister the power to remove the board of trustees of churches without recourse to the court.
The issue critics are raising is that why must Nigerian church leaders obey laws of other lands and yet refuse to do the same in their own country? In August last year, the UK Charity Commission appointed an interim manager (Adam Stephens of Smith & Williamson) to Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International (1100416), a north London based charity which exists to promote Christianity. This is contained in a press statement published on gov.uk.
According to the statement, in March 2018, the Commission opened a statutory inquiry to look into a number of concerns at the charity. “These included the repeated late filing of financial information, and a failure in the administration which resulted in opportunities for significant losses to the charity to occur.”
The Commission, the statement has it further, “is concerned over the trustees’ unwillingness to report serious incidents. The inquiry found 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. While a small percentage of the stolen funds have been recovered, the charity continues to suffer a significant loss. In addition to this, the Commission has serious concerns over the charity’s Chair of Trustees and his personal handling of serious incidents.”
Further on the statement:
“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 has therefore appointed an interim manager whose remit includes reviewing the charity’s financial and governance processes, inspecting a number of the charity’s branches and their handling of serious incidents. 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 Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. For more information see the about us page on GOV.UK
Section 76(3)(g) of the Charities Act 2011 gives the Commission power to appoint interim managers to a charity.
On 1 August 2019 the Commission appointed Adam Stephens of Smith & Williamson to the role of interim manager. Interim managers are appointed where the Commission has identified misconduct or mismanagement, or there is a need to protect the charity’s property. It is a temporary and protective measure.
The failure to report serious incidents impacts the Commission’s ability to support charities and prevent such events from happening again. Guidance on submitting serious incident reports can be found here.”