The Charity Commission has removed London-based charity SPAC Nation from its register after the church group was wound up by the High Court.
Last month, the High Court wound up Salvation Proclaimers Ministries Limited, more commonly known as SPAC Nation, after the organisation only partially complied with statutory requirements.
These requirements included providing data to support claimed donations and accounting for more than £1.87m in expenditure.
The regulator has now confirmed that it has banned SPAC Nation from operating as a charity, saying that it and the related company are “one and the same”.
'A different side to the charity'
Founded in 2012, the church group initially received positive reviews and media attention for its work with vulnerable people, youth, and offenders.
But by late 2019, SPAC Nation was subject to media scrutiny following allegations by former church members they had been financially exploited by senior church personnel.
SPAC Nation was insolvent at the time of last month's court hearing, where it was criticised for a lack of transparency and for filing suspicious or incorrect accounts.
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.”
Charity removed from register as inquiry continues
The Charity Commission confirmed this week that it has banned SPAC Nation from operating as a charity, but its investigation into the organisation continues.
A spokesperson for the regulator said: “As per the charity’s governing document, the charity and the company are one and the same. Therefore, the charity also ceased to operate. The Commission removed SPAC Nation from the Register of Charities and it can no longer operate as a charity. The Commission’s inquiry into financial controls, governance and safeguarding matters at the charity is ongoing.”
The Charity Commission launched a statutory inquiry into the religious charity in 2019 following allegations of fraud and the exploitation of young people. It was also reviewed by police, but no criminal investigation was launched into the allegations.
When it launched the inquiry three years ago, the regulator was concerned by a “lack of clarity” between the personal, business and charity roles of the leaders.
Civil Society News was unable to contact the organisation for a comment.