- Says allegations are without foundation
The General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Dr. Daniel Olukoya yesterday denied any link to fraudulent activities allegedly involving the London branch of the church.
Olukoya, also, added that the seven allegations levelled against him and the MFM were without foundation, but intent to damage his reputation and destroy the global image of the church.
He made these clarifications in a statement his media aide, Mr. Collins Edomaruse issued yesterday in response to the fraud allegations.
The Charity Commission, an independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, had appointed an interim manager to manage Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International (1100416), a north London-based charity, which exists to promote Christianity.
The interim manager was saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the charity’s financial and governance processes, inspecting a number of the charity’s branches and their handling of serious incidents.
In his statement, Olukoya said: “It has become pertinent for the purpose of clarity to respond to the false allegations being peddled against MFM and Olukoya in the social media particularly sponsored by SaharaReporters.”
He denied that he falsely “claimed residence of the US city of Maryland. Nothing can be further from the truth. Olukoya is a public figure nationally and internationally. His domicile is therefore a fact of public knowledge.
“The true position is that the pastor who wanted to register MFM in Maryland inserted Olukoya name without prior consultation with or knowledge of the G.O because he believed that Olukoya should be involved.
“But after he consulted a lawyer and received advice that a person’s name cannot be on the incorporation documents unless he is resident in Maryland, that registration was put in abeyance and allowed to lapse.
“The pastor is still alive and all the evidence is there for all to see at the Company Registry in Maryland,” the statement explained.
The statement, also, faulted the allegation that Olukoya Illegally imported books into the United States and evaded payment of customs duties on those books.
It said Olukoya’s books are sold on Amazon. It is foolhardy for anyone to suggest that he brought in his books to the US illegally when he can and has been doing so legally. This false allegation was pioneered by a former Pastor of MFM who tried to steal MFM Branch in Maryland.
“He conceived this lie as his defence to a civil suit the church brought against him in the County Court in Maryland. This concocted lie could best be described as the wild thrashings of a drowning man intent on bringing everybody down with him.
“However, in defence of this allegation, MFM brought its bookkeeper to testify in court who produced all the receipts of payment and customs documents and, in the end, the judge not only thrashed the wild allegation but gave judgement in favour of MFM.”
The statement, also, denied allegation that the trustees in the UK Church “were suspended. This is completely false. They were never suspended. They are still in charge of the church even up till now.”
The statement further faulted allegations of fraud “against the trustees of MFM UK. The trustees were never indicted. We can authoritatively say that no Trustee of MFM-UK has ever committed fraud.”
It denied that Olukoya connived with someone to steal 150,000 pounds saying
this is a complete fabrication from the fevered minds of the defamers.
The statement reads: “Fortunately, all the people that took money illegally are still alive.
“The genesis of this allegation is that the lease of one of our branches in London contained a clause which stipulated that any party who broke the lease for any reason before its expiration would pay a penalty of 150,000 British Pounds to the other party.
“It happened that the owner of the property broke the lease and sold the property to a third party which necessitated the Church relocating from the building.
“The property owners honoured their obligation and paid the penalty sum of 150,000 pound, which the pastor of that branch somehow found a way of paying it into his personal account without informing the headquarters and conspired with the external auditors to shield that income from discovery.
“It was much later that a member of that branch brought to the attention of headquarters that such an amount of money had been received by the pastor.
“Headquarters immediately set up a panel to investigate the incident and give fair hearing to the pastor concerned. He attended the sitting of the panel and unequivocally admitted the theft. The panel directed him to refund the money immediately.
“Upon receipt of the report of the panel, the General Overseer issued the pastor an ultimatum in writing to pay back the money within 48 hours whereupon he promised to re-mortgage his house in London to comply.
“It was later brought to the attention of Olukoya that this ultimatum had not been complied with by the pastor who, on his own, began to repay the money by instalments.”