SPAC Nation church shut down by government following fraud allegations

The church, once hailed by UK politicians as a beacon of hope for ex-gang members, was hit by allegations of financial exploitation of its members in 2019

Nadine White
Race Correspondent
Friday 17 June 2022 13:09 BST
<p>Pastor Tobi Adeboyega from SPAC Nation</p>

Pastor Tobi Adeboyega from SPAC Nation

A controversial church has been shut down after failing to properly account for more than £1.87 million of outgoings and operating with a lack of transparency.

SPAC Nation, known as Salvation Proclaimer Ministries Limited, was wound up in the High Court on 9 June 2022 before Judge Burton, government agency The Insolvency Service announced on Friday.

The church, once hailed by UK politicians as a beacon of hope for ex-gang members, was hit by allegations of financial exploitation and safeguarding abuses of its members - which it denies. Its congregation is mainly comprised of young Black people from impoverished communities.

SPAC Nation’s recent financial statements set out £610,000 of rent expenditure, however the company did not have a base of its own and hired venues across London to hold services at significant expense, the court heard.

Edna Okhiria, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “While SPAC Nation claimed it had noble intentions to support vulnerable and young people, our enquiries uncovered a different side of the charity.

“There were clear concerns around how the church group managed its affairs and SPAC Nation failed to properly account for income received from donations and other expenditure.

“The court recognised the severity of SPAC Nation’s actions and this sends a strong message that proper records and accounts must be maintained, even if you’re a charity.”

After allegations about the church came to light - having been first reported by HuffPost UK - the Metropolitan Police and Charity Commission launched investigations into its activities, which are ongoing.

At that time, there were claims pastors allegedly pressured young people in the congregation to sell their own blood to raise funds in a practice referred to as “bleeding for seed”.

Though an organisation can be forced to adminstratively close and cease to exist under that name on the Companies House register, companies can appear under a different name and this has previously been known to happen.

A company that’s linked to the organisation, registered as SPAC NATION LTD on companies house, was incorporated in May 2019 and remains active with accounts overdue.

SPAC Nation rebranded as Nxtion Family in June 2020, a month after head pastor Tobi Adeboyega announced he was stepping down as leader, though he has remained at the helm of the organisation.

The court heard that SPAC Nation was incorporated in 2012 as a charity set up to advance Christianity. Much of its charitable work was based in London, working particularly with vulnerable people, youth, and offenders.

The Insolvency Service received complaints about SPAC Nation before instigating its own inquiries into the church group’s activities.

Further inquiries found that SPAC Nation either failed to comply or only partially complied with statutory requirements, including providing data to support claimed donations, and accounting records to support £1.87 million of spending.

It was also recognised that the company provided inconsistent information to the Insolvency Service and Charity Commission, and failed to deliver adequate accounting records.

Investigators interviewed one of the company’s directors, Adedapo Olugbenga Adegboyega, who was also known as Dapo Adegboyega, Pastor Dapo or simply the brother of Tobi Adeboyega.

During interviews, Mr Adegboyega said that the church group had over 2,000 members and 200 ordained ministers and pastors but failed to provide any supporting information.

He also stands accused of previously conning a congregation member at the London branch of World Evangelism Bible Church (WEBIC) into taking out a £100,000 mortgage loan to buy a building that never materialised, before moving to SPAC Nation.

Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, uses powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business.

SPAC Nation has been approached for comment.

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