The name of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, founder and General Overseer of Christ Embassy Church, has been removed from a list of the board of trustees of the UK branch of the ministry according to a report on Allafrica.com.
The latest development may not be unconnected to the ongoing matrimonial spat between the pastor and his wife, Anita Oyakhilome.
According to Premium Times, with Mr. Oyakhilome’s removal, his wife, Anita, now presides over a seven-man Board of Trustees (BoT) UK extension of the church.
The six other members of the board are Obi Chiemeka, Ifeoma Onubogu, Nkem Odiakah, Raymond Okocha, Tony Obi and Uche Onubogu, all pastors believed to be loyal to Mrs. Oyakhilome.
Mrs. Oyakhilome has always headed the UK branch of the church.
A review of documents filed by the church’s UK branch to the Charity Commission of England and Wales, now show that Mr. Oyakhilome is no longer a registered trustee of a branch of his church with total asset worth over N8.2 billion (£31 million).
Until his recent removal, Mr. Oyakhilome was consistently listed as a prominent trustee, since 1996, when the branch was established.
Contrary to the church’s practice of stating reasons for the removal of trustees in the past, no reason has been given for the removal of Pastor Oyakhilome.
It is unclear whether the explanation for the action would be given in the church’s annual report for 2013 which is yet to be made public by the charity commission.
According to the church’s financial statement, in 2009, five pastors were removed from the church’s BoT after they resigned from their positions. That same year, two others were appointed.
A Charity Commission spokesperson, Sarah Hitchings, explained that it was not the concern of the commission to know why charities remove or replace their trustees.
The international office of Christ Embassy refused to respond to questions sent through email neither did the international audit and accounting firm, Mazars, appointed by the Charity Commission to run the affairs of the church after it opened statutory inquiry into the finances of the church following suspicious payment it made to connected parties worth N941 million between 2008 and 2012.
“He has been effectively sidelined,” a church insider said. “The law in the U.K. does not recognise him as an interested party in that branch of the church anymore.”