The controversial SPAC Nation Church is to be the subject of a statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission, it was announced today.
The inquiry will examine the controversial Church’s safeguarding procedures, and determine whether young people are being put at risk.
Compliance officers have been engaging with the Church since April 2018 over a number of concerns. Church trustees were issued with an action plan for improvement in June, and information received after that raised concerns over the Church’s financial controls, policy and procedures, in addition to already existing safeguarding issues.
The formal inquiry will investigate whether the Charity’s assets have been put at risk by the Church operating outside of its current bank account. It is believed the Church has large cash reserves, which the commission has ordered to be deposited with a bank.
Finally, the inquiry will seek to understand how well the trustees are managing the risks to the charity generated by the negative publicity the Church has received in recent weeks.
The Church, which holds services in Croydon, came under fire for its involvement in the Fairfield by-election for Croydon Council where they appeared to show support on Twitter for the Conservative candidate and a member of the Church, in breach of charity regulations.
However, the Charity Commission told Eastlondonlines exclusively that the Church had removed the offending tweets and that: “The charity also provided assurances that they understood their obligations as a charity to maintain their political impartiality.”
An investigation by the Huffington Post revealed that members of the church were being pressured to take out loans of up to £20,000 to donate to the church.
Former members of the Church including prominent gospel drill artist Tkay Mukuna have spoken against the Church at a number of protests in Croydon. One on occasion, police were called as a fight almost broke out between protestors and members of the Church.
A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “Charities exist to improve lives and strengthen society; the issues that have been raised related to SPAC Nation in recent weeks are highly concerning, even more so as the allegations are entirely at odds with the expectations about the way that charities will operate.”
“The opening of this inquiry is an important step that will allow us to examine these concerns further and establish the facts.”
The Charity Commission does not investigate criminal offences, which are the remit of the Metropolitan Police, whose officers are reviewing allegations of fraud and other offences committed by the Church.
SPAC Nation had not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication.
However, a spokesperson told the Huffington Post earlier this week: “When anything is reported, we have taken it up to find out the truth behind it and I can authoritatively say there has not been a single report about the things that you have listed. Respectability is not what we are looking for. We are looking to change lives.”