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Pandora: How Oyedepo Set Up Company For Wife And Kids In Tax Haven

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After Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy and the late Temitope Joshua, the founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, David Oyedepo, the founder and general overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide, is the latest Nigerian mega-preacher found to have set up a family offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.

Mr Oyedepo’s offshore company popped up as part of the ongoing global Pandora Papers reporting project, led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and in which PREMIUM TIMES is a key participant.

The project involved 600 journalists from 150 news organisations around the world sorting and analysing a trove of almost 12 million confidential files, tracking down and interviewing sources, and adding context using public records and other documents.

The leaked files were retrieved from some offshore services firms around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore entities for clients, many of them influential politicians, business persons, and criminals seeking to conceal their financial dealings.

In August 2007 Mr Oyedepo contracted the services of Business Centrum Limited, a London-based agent, to help him set up a company in the infamous tax haven for him and his immediate family.

Business Centrum subsequently subcontracted Trident Trust Group, one of the world’s leading secrecy enablers and one of the most notorious providers of offshore corporate and financial services.

The company, Zadok Investments Limited, was set up on August 20, 2007 with 50,000 ordinary shares with a value of $1.00 each.

Although the directors of the company are Mr Oyedepo and his two sons – David (junior) and Isaac, every member of Mr Oyedepo’s family are listed as shareholders.

Mr Oyedepo and his wife, Faith, are the largest shareholders with 30 percent of shares each

His children – David (junior), who in 2016 was appointed resident pastor of the headquarters of the church, known as Faith Tabernacle, has 10 percent while Isaac, who is the resident pastor of the church’s branch in Maryland, the United States of America, also has 10 per cent of the shares.

Love and Joy – the two daughters of the cleric – were similarly given 10 percent shares each.

The documents did not reveal the exact businesses and transactions the offshore company was set up to conduct. The entity however appears to be the family’s investment vehicle under which the family’s wealth is warehoused for offshore management.

When reached via his personal email address, Mr Oyedepo did not respond to questions sent to him seeking his comments.

We also sent the questions to the publicised emails of his church, including that of the church’s branch in Maryland. Some of the emails returned undelivered while we did not receive any response for those that delivered.

The telephone number Mr Oyedepo listed in company documents failed to connect.

Biblical reference
Mr Oyedepo may have tapped the name of his offshore company from the Bible. According to the books of 2 Samuel, 1 King and Ezekiel, Zadok was a loyal priest to the biblical King David.

He was instrumental in helping David suppress the rebellion of his son, Absalom.

And he was also helpful to the enthronement of Solomon as David’s successor being that he was the priest that anointed Solomon’s head with oil at Gihon, which effectively made him his father’s successor.

After Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, Zadok was the first high priest of the temple.

An entrepreneurial cleric

While the cache of documents did not reveal what type of business the company was set up for, some of the documents revealed that the company was still active at least as recently as 2016 when Trident Trust filed a resolution of the company’s board revalidating its list of directors.

Meanwhile, Mr Oyedepo, who felt “insulted” by his $150 million valuation by Forbes Magazine in 2011, is one of the main proponents of prosperity gospel in Christendom and encapsulates this by his myriad of entrepreneurial endeavours.

“Some fellow said we are worth $150 million, I said that’s an insult. $150 million? That’s an insult. I’m worth Philippians 4:19”, he said while referring to the Forbes valuation.

Philippians 4:19 reads: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Recently, while reacting to reports that some of the church’s pastors were sacked without benefits, Mr Oyedepo, who described the sacked pastors as “unfruitful” and “blatant failure”, said his church had never lacked money.

“Money? Nonsense! We’ve never lacked it and yet we’ve never prayed for it. We are just simply obeying God and he is backing up what he asks us to do.”

“Obedience will turn you to a living wonder. Just obey God. Have you seen us raise a prayer point of Oh God send us money?,” he asked later during the speech.

Outside his evangelical work, he is mainly known as the founder of one of Nigeria’s most expensive universities, Covenant University. He also owns Landmark University, in Omu-Aran, Kwara State.

He also owns Faith Academy Limited alongside his wife, Faith. Faith Academy Limited is the company that runs the highbrow boarding secondary school that goes by the same name.

Mr Oyedepo is also known for his acquisition of at least four private jets which includes, a Gulfstream V jet, said to be worth at least $30 million, two other Gulfstream planes and a Bombardier Challenger aircraft, which he operates using another of his companies, Dominion Air Limited.

Dominion Air Limited was set up in 2005 and his second son, Isaac, is listed as one of its directors.

Mr Oyedepo is also the owner of Hebron Oil Limited and a slew of other businesses mostly located in his Canaanland estate in Ota, Ogun State.

Another company, Biblematch Media Limited, has David Oluwamakinde Oyedepo and Olukemi Omolola Oyedepo as directors.

Nigerian pastors and tax havens

PREMIUM TIMES had in 2013 reported how Chris Oyakhilome, one of Africa’s most popular pastors, secretly incorporated Gmobile Nigeria, Limited, an offshore company for his family in the British Virgin Islands.

A business associate of the pastor told this newspaper at the time that some directors in the company held shares on behalf of the pastor’s daughters, Sharon and Charlyn, who were then teenagers.

The shareholders listed in the documents included Oyakhilome’s wife at the time, Anita; another pastor in his organization, Thomas Amenkhienan; a business associate, Aigobomian Inegbedion; and another British Virgin Islands company, GTMT International Group Limited.

In 2016, another popular pastor, T.B. Joshua, was also exposed for secretly setting up an offshore business entity.

Files obtained by PREMIUM TIMES from the massive leaked data of a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, had shown that Mr Joshua and his wife, Evelyn, owned Chillon Consultancy Limited, a company incorporated on June 20, 2006 at the British Virgin Island (BVI).

Both owners owned one ordinary share each, although the company, with registration number 1033675, was authorised to issue a maximum “50,000 no par value Shares of a single class.”

The pastor died on June 5, this year, and his wife has been battling some congregation members over the management of the church’s assets.

 

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EndSARS: CNN, Amnesty International Must Apologise To FG -Lai Mohammed

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The Federal Government has demanded an apology from Amnesty International, CNN and DJ Switch for misleading the world that there was a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20, 2020.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made this demand on the occasion of the first year anniversary of the famous #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

According to the Minister who spoke during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, CNN, Amnesty, and DJ Switch are all guilty of spreading fake news.

Mohammed maintained that there was no massacre of Nigerian youths at the Lekki Toll Gate incident during the protest last year and the trio mentioned only gave false and misleading reports.

The Minister insisted a professional analysis of what transpired at the Lekki Toll Gate revealed that the military didn’t massacre anyone while if truly there was any killing as widely reported, the families of the victims and those affected would have appeared with evidence before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.

Not done, Lai Mohammed further accused the trio of spreading ‘tales by moonlight’ about what he described as the phantom killings at the Lekki Toll Gate during the EndSARS protests last year.

He said: “…During the sitting, CNN was summoned but it never showed up, thus missing a great opportunity to prove its allegation of massacre at the toll gate. Also, Amnesty International had a golden opportunity to convince the world, but it rather opted for issuing meaningless press releases.”

“In its latest attempt to grasp at straws and redeem whatever is left of its battered credibility on this issue, CNN has continued with its baseless report that soldiers shot at protesters. In a report currently running on the network, CNN brazenly and unashamedly held on to its flawed narrative, relying on an unidentified mother whose son was reportedly shot dead at Lekki, but without convincing evidence of who shot him dead. The same CNN that tweeted on Oct. 23rd 2020 that 38 people were shot dead at Lekki is now struggling to convince the world that one boy was killed at Lekki. What a shame!”

“The testimony of ballistic experts before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Lagos contradicts the tales by the moonlight by Amnesty International, CNN, a runaway DJ, and their ilk.”

 

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BREAKING: Police Arrest #EndSARSMemorial Protesters At Lekki Tollgate

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Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested two protesters at the Lekki tollgate where the #EndSARS Memorial Protest is scheduled to hold in the state today.

One of those arrested claimed to be a journalist while the other was seen carrying a placard.

The police had reportedly warned that anyone seen at the tollgate without an ID card will be arrested.

The arrested journalist told newsmen that he works with LegitTV and that his phone, driver’s license and other documents were taken away from him.

Speaking from a Lagos State Task Force van where he was kept by the police, the journalist who identified himself as Abisola stated that he lost his ID card in transit.

About 30 police trucks and armed personnel are currently at the tollgate to enforce a ban on protests issued by the police command.

A car procession in honour of those believed to have lost their lives at the tollgate when soldiers dispersed #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020, is scheduled to hold at the tollgate today.

What #EndSARS protests were about

The #EndSARS protests which were held in October 2020 were against the activities of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police Force which was accused of police brutality.

The epicentre of the protests was the Lekki tollgate in Lagos where many youths gathered day and night to air their grievances against police brutality and bad governance.

They were dispersed from the location by gun-wielding soldiers on October 20, 2020, an action which some quarters believe led to the loss of lives.

This was followed by the destruction of private and public properties by hoodlums in Lagos, an incident that informed the latest warning issued by the police in the state.

PUNCH

 

 

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Police Threaten To Punish Inspector For Voting At APC Congress

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The Zone 1 Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Kano, on Tuesday said its attention had been drawn to a trending picture on the social media, of a police inspector casting his vote at the Kano State congress of the All Progressives Congress alongside his principal, the state party chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas.

A statement by the Zonal Public Relations Officer, DSP Abubakar Ambursa, added that the inspector had been identified as Bashir Mohammed of the Special Protection Unit, Base 1, Kano.

According to the statement, the Inspector is attached to the Government House, Kano, from where he was deployed to work with Abbas as a security aide.

“In view of this seemingly unprofessional conduct of the inspector, the AIG (Assistant Inspector General of Police) has referred the matter to the Zonal X-Squad for investigation.

“If the inspector is found to have committed the offence, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against him,” the statement said.

The police assured members of the public that further development on the matter would be communicated.

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