Commission appoints interim manager to Christian charity that 'failed to report' serious fraud

05 Aug 2019 News

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager at Christian charity Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International (MFM) after uncovering further concerns over its governance in an ongoing inquiry.

In March 2018, the Commission opened a statutory inquiry to look into a number of issues. These included the repeated late filing of financial information, and worry over the trustees’ unwillingness to report serious incidents.

The Commission has now said it has further concerns, including a failure to swiftly report fraud, and has appointed an interim manager after trustees continued to fail to comply with their legal duties.

The ongoing 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 they 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 and their personal handling of serious incidents.

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. The organisation currently has 28 employees and 62 volunteers.

The Commission said that despite its continued engagement, the trustees are still not complying with their legal duties, including 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, who retain control over matters relating to religious activities.

Protests

The global organisation was founded in Nigeria in 1989 and operates through a series of 40 branches in the UK. Its mission is to propagate Christianity through various channels including seminars, conventions and theological education. 

It also pledges “to build an aggressive end-time army for the Lord.” The organisation defines an end-time church as “a church where a sinner enters with two options: he either repents or does not come back, contrary to the present day church where sinners are comfortable and find things so easy and convenient.''

The charity’s Liverpool branch was previously 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. 

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