An evangelical church based in West Croydon has been placed under investigation by the Charity Commission and had its bank accounts frozen.
The Croydon Tabernacle is the second evangelical church based in Croydon to be placed under formal investigation by the charities watchdog. In the case of the Rhema Church, the Charity Commission investigation has been on-going for more than two years.
And like the Rhema Church, the Charity Commission says that it is concerned about unusual spending from the Tabernacle’s charity accounts.
Based in a former office building at Parsons Mead, the Croydon Tabernacle is part of a network of churches called the RCCG, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, of which there are another eight in Croydon alone.
According to the Charity Commission statement, “The inquiry was opened on 14 March 2018… The Commission examined the charity’s financial information and found cause for serious regulatory concern. This included substantial unexplained expenditure and potentially conflicted payments to people connected with the charity.
“As a result of its concerns, the Commission has frozen a bank account controlled by the charity.”
The Charity Commission says that it has been looking into matters with the Croydon Tabernacle for the past 18 months, “However the engagement did not resolve the regulatory concerns so a statutory inquiry has been opened.”
The Commission added: “The inquiry will examine the extent of risks to charity property and whether:
• there has been misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity and/or breaches of trust or non-compliance with charity law
• potential conflicts of interest have been adequately identified or managed
• connected party payments or transactions have been properly authorised”.
According to the Croydon Tabernacle’s latest annual accounts, filed with the Commission, it had income of £383,000 to year-end December 2016, with spending of £272,000.
In two of the previous four years, the church’s expenditure had outstripped its income.
The Charity Commission declined to make any further statement on the case while it is under investigation.
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