ishop David Oyedepo, the founder and general overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide, better known as Winners’ Chapel International, has been named among the Nigerians who have established offshore corporations in the British Virgin Islands.
The inquiry is part of the international Pandora Papers project, which is led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and includes Nigeria’s Premium Times.
600 journalists from 150 news organizations around the world worked on the project, which included sifting and analyzing about 12 million confidential files, tracing down and interviewing sources, and providing context using public records and papers.
The leaked information came from a number of offshore services firms around the world that set up shell corporations and other offshore entities for clients, many of whom were powerful politicians, business people, and criminals looking to hide their finances.
Peter Obi, the former Governor of Anambra State and the Peoples Democratic Party’s Vice Presidential Candidate, Atiku Bagudu, the Governor of Kebbi State, and Gboyega Oyetola, the Governor of Osun State, were among the famous Nigerians implicated in the tax haven scam.
According to the investigative report, Oyedepo hired Business Centrum Limited, a London-based agent, in August 2007 to assist him in forming a corporation in the infamous tax haven for himself and his family.
“Trident Trust Group, one of the world’s major secrecy enablers and a well-known provider of offshore corporate and financial services, was then subcontracted by Business Centrum.”
“On August 20, 2007, Zadok Investments Limited was founded with 50,000 ordinary shares worth $1 each.
“While Mr. Oyedepo and his two sons, David (Junior) and Isaac, serve as the company’s directors, every member of Mr. Oyedepo’s family is identified as a stakeholder.”
“With 30 percent of the shares, Mr. Oyedepo and his wife, Faith, are the largest stockholders.
“His children – David (Jr.), who was appointed Resident Pastor of the Church’s Headquarters, Faith Tabernacle, in 2016, has 10% of the shares, while Isaac, who is the Resident Pastor of the Church’s Branch in Maryland, United States of America, also has 10%.”
“Love and Joy, the cleric’s two daughters, each received a 10% stake.
“The filings did not indicate the precise businesses and transactions that the offshore corporation was established to execute. The entity, on the other hand, looks to be the family’s investment vehicle, with the family’s riches being warehoused for offshore administration,” according to the report read in part.
This goes to show that the so-called ‘representatives’ of God on earth are not exempt from any form of sin especially corruption. After all, we are nothing but flesh.
If the ‘men of God’ could indulge in an act such as this – investing tax haven, I wonder what kind of message they are sending out to their followers who are in the millions.
Nobody is a saint!