The Kingsway International Christian Centre, a 12,000-member mega-church in Britain headed by Nigeria’s Pastor, Mathew Ashimolowo, lost $4.8 million after trustees carelessly invested money in a Ponzi scheme.
The scam was spearheaded by a former Premier League soccer player, Richard Rufus, who used to be a defender for Charlton Athletic. He promised investors as well as the church a return as high as 55%.
The Christian Post reporting the findings of an inquiry published 14 December by the Charity Commission for England and Wales stated that KICC suffered a net loss of about $4.8m after its trustees invested over $6.1m between June 2009 and June 2010.
Rufus who was a member and ex-trustee of the church had guaranteed that the investments would earn a sizeable return totalling about 55% in a year.
He was in 2015 found guilty of defrauding about a 100 investors out of a total of £8.7m in the £16-million investing scheme.
KICC was the single largest investor in the scheme.
The Charity Commission said in the report that the church’s trustees did not “exercise sufficient care when making the decisions to invest £5 million of the charity’s funds through the ex-trustee’s investment scheme.
They did not follow all the principles expected of trustees to ensure they comply with their trustee duties under charity law when making those decisions,” the report said.
Rufus filed for bankruptcy and was declared bankrupt in 2013 after the church had entered into an Individual voluntary agreement with him in hopes he could pay back the money lost.