Questions are to be asked in the House of Commons on Wednesday about the lack of police action over the controversial, cult-like “Church of Bling”, SPAC Nation.
Croydon North MP Steve Reed OBE has been granted an adjournment debate, straight after the first Prime Minister’s Questions of 2020, which he has tabled as “SPAC Nation and the alleged exploitation of young people”.
SPAC – which stands for Salvation Proclaimers Anointed Church – is run by a former property investor Tobi Adegboyega.
The church also runs more than 20 refuge houses – which they call TRAP Houses, without any intention of irony, for young people involved in knife crime, drugs and gangs.
Last year it raised £1.17million from “Tithes and Offerings”, according to the church’s own accounts, much of it raised by demanding its congregation members make regular and large donations – in some cases as much as £1,000 per week. Pastors have been recorded urging church-goers to provide “seed” by any means possible, even stating that they should “beg, borrow or steal”.
SPAC Nation is registered as a charity.
In November, Inside Croydon broke the news that SPAC Nation was subject to investigation by Scotland Yard’s Fraud Squad, as well as at least one multi-national bank, over claims that some of its church leaders had been taking out business loans using the identities of young congregation members.
Further serious allegations have since emerged of wide-ranging abuse, including sexual abuse, while the Charity Commission is investigating SPAC over alleged abuses of its charitable status, including failures with accounting and its overt involvement in politics. In November, a SPAC Nation pastor, Jayde Edwards, stood as the Conservative candidate in a Croydon council by-election.
But by the end of last year, Reed was expressing his concerns over the lack of decisive action by the police over the activities of SPAC Nation. Following a BBC Panorama investigation, Reed handed over a dossier of evidence from more than a dozen witnesses, some of whom claimed to have been abused. Yet no arrests had been made by the police.
As well as allegations of widespread fraud, encouraging young people to commit benefit fraud or to hand over their student loans, Reed says he has received troubling reports of child sexual abuse committed at the church’s TRAP houses.
The MP says that the TRAP houses are where the church grooms and practises “brain-washing” of the young church-goers.
“Young people are pressurised into having sex with older pastors, in some cases under the age of consent,” Reed said.
“In one case, there is a serious allegation of an offence against a child.”
On Wednesday, with the protection of parliamentary immunity, Reed will address the Commons and is likely to outline further allegations, while he is expected to seek explanations from the Metropolitan Police and Director of Public Prosecutions over the apparent lack of urgency and action despite the mounting and compelling evidence against senior members of SPAC Nation.
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