Three pastors of a London evangelical church “breached their duties” by giving themselves unauthorised payments of nearly half a million pounds, a three-year investigation found, the Evening Standards reports.
Anthony Osei-Dankwa and husband and wife Emmanuel Owusu Ansah and Olivia Ansah paid themselves unauthorised salaries and expenses totalling £456,853 while trustees for the Kingdom Life Ministries church’s charity.
A report by the Charity Commission said nearly £720,000 in cash was withdrawn from the charity’s bank account in three years.
The ex-trustees submitted a list of estimated expenses relating to construction work, international flights and video production.
But analysis of the charity’s bank statements showed they did not match the withdrawals as the majority of payments made to the ex-trustees were “round sums”.
The report said: “The former trustees failed to comply with their trustee duties and were responsible for serious mismanagement.”
“Bishop” Ansah, 55, is the founder of Kingdom Life Ministries. The church’s website describes his wife as “first lady” and Osei-Dankwa as an “associate pastor”.
Charity trustees are typically unpaid volunteers. Any salaries have to be approved by the commission. All three were disqualified from serving as a trustee or senior manager of any charity in England and Wales for 10 years.
The charity was first investigated in 2017 after failures to file accounts. Investigators then found evidence of unauthorised payments made between June 2013 and November 2018.
When it issued an order restricting financial transactions by the charity in June 2018, investigators then noticed a significant reduction in deposits into the charity’s bank account. The former trustees were ordered to pay all charitable funds into the charity’s bank account. They resigned 12 days later.
A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “Charity trustees should be driven by their charitable mission.” The charity’s new trustee board has “engaged with the inquiry and is aware of its duties”, the commission said.
Neither the church nor the pastors responded to requests for comment.