The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International, the UK arm of a global Christian “army of prayer warriors”.
The charity operates through a series of 40 branches in the UK and the Commission is concerned that trustees do not have adequate oversight and have failed to promptly report serious incidents to itself and the police.
Its objectives include propagating Christianity through various channels including seminars and conventions, counselling programmes for the distressed, bereaved and the vulnerable, education through Bible studies, evangelical training and teaching, as well as the publication and distribution of educational print and media.
MFM UK describes itself on its website as “groundbreaking non-denominational fellowship committed to raising up an army of prayer warriors fully geared up to totally expose the activities of darkness preparatory to the coming of the end-time revival”.
The organisation was founded in Nigeria in 1989 and operates around the world.
Local newspaper investigation
Last year the charity’s Liverpool branch was the focus of an investigation by the Liverpool Echo about claims that it recommended “dangerous” therapies to “cure” homosexuality.
This prompted protests outside the church in October 2017.
‘Loss of charity’s money’
Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International’s accounts for the year ending December 2016 reveal that there have been two incidents where money has been lost.
The first “relates to Gift Aid payments made on behalf of the charity for the years between 2005 and 2012”. The second involves the mismanagement of funds by a branch.
It said it can’t estimate the amount that has been lost “as both matters are currently under investigation by trustees and have been reported to Charity Commission”.
One branch is also involved in a planning dispute with a local council and there is currently an enforcement proceeding against the charity relating to “a branch carrying out its activites in a rented property without prior permission from council”.
Its accounts also say that a spouse of one of the trustees works as a senior pastor for the church, receiving £35,000 during the year.
Late filing accounts
Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International has been late filing its accounts in four out of the last five years, including the past three years.
According to the accounts for the year ending December 2016 it had an income of £4.2m, which all came from donations or legacies, and an expenditure of £3.5m, which was all classed as “charitable activities” on the charity’s listing on the register of charities.
Its accounts say it had direct costs of £2.4m, including £76,000 on evangelism, £760,000 on conferences and events and £233,000 on wages and salaries. It then lists a further £1m as support costs, including a further £155,000 in wages and salaries.
It employed 31 people in the year and nobody earned over £60,000.