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Investigation launched into church with branches in east London that offers a ‘gay cure’

PUBLISHED: 09:23 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:46 08 June 2018

MFM's Dagenham branch. Picture: Google

MFM's Dagenham branch. Picture: Google

Google

A church exposed as offering gay “cure” therapies is under investigation over “potential significant” financial losses.

The Charity Commission yesterday announced it was looking into Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International (MFM), which has branches across east London.

The watchdog is “concerned” about how the charity is run, with management repeatedly failing to submit returns and financial information on time.

MFM claims to “propagate Christianity” through its 40 UK branches, which include sites in Barking, Canning Town, Chadwell Heath, Dagenham, Dalston, Islington and Redbridge.

Its founder, Nigeria-based Dr Daniel Kolawole Olukoya, also sells “educational” books, CDs and audio sermons.

According to the Charity Commission, talks with MFM trustees flagged up “potentially serious losses” to the charity.

Auditors, it added, “qualified” its accounts for 2014 and 2015, meaning they had reservations about the information provided.

“The Commission is concerned about the apparent failures within the administration and management of the charity which have resulted in an environment in which such losses could occur, and continued to occur over a prolonged period,” the watchdog said.

MFM branches enjoy a degree of freedom in admin and financial matters, the Commission “identified concerns” about trustees’ oversight and control over them.

Further concerns were raised about trustee’s failure to report serious incidents to the Commission and the police promptly.

Protests were held outside MFM’s Liverpool branch last year after the assistant pastor told an undercover reporter being gay was biologically wrong and that he could “humble” his soul by starving himself and not drinking water for 24 hours before a prayer session.

While the branch’s pastor, Dr Desmond Sanusi, told the Liverpool Echo the church did not discrimate against anyone’s sexuality, and that his assistant was acting alone, he claimed “nobody has dropped dead” in two decades of running similar programmes.

The investigation will focus on the extent of financial losses at MFM, the circumstances which lead to them and the adequacy of trustee’s control over the charity’s branches.

The Commission, which will publish a report after the probe closes, declined to comment while the investigation was ongoing. Questions sent to MFM, meanwhile, went unanswered.

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