Winners Chapel Accused of Tax Dodge

The Ghanaian Chronicle has been reporting on Ghana’s Charismatic churches, with an emphasis on the powerful Winners Chapel:

we have learnt that at Winners Chapel alone, over $60,000 was sent monthly from Ghana to the Nigerian headquarters of the church – tax-free! It is significant that but for the current leadership struggle in the church, the average citizen and probably the ordinary church member would never have learnt the truth of how the tithe and offering money were changed into dollars on the black market and sent to Lagos, smuggled in car tyres and what not, like some drug barons trying to launder their dirty money.

What has been revealed so far about the strange goings-on in that church points to just one thing: a massive illegality has been perpetrated against this country and as far as we at The Chronicle are concerned, must be accounted for, no matter whose ox is gored.

According to an earlier report, this has all come out because the leader of Winners Chapel of Ghana, Bishop George Adjeman, had decided to stop making the payments to Nigeria. The church’s Nigerian head, Bishop David Oyedepo, responded by dismissing Adjeman against the wishes of the Ghanaian congregation, leading to secession, legal action, and – if an astonishing piece of gossip is to be believed – regional tension:

news [is] going round that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has threatened to stop supplying oil to Ghana if a Nigerian did not replace the Ghanaian bishop.

Oyedepo is very popular on the international circuit of Charismatic and neo-Pentecostal speakers, and is an associate of NAE leader Ted Haggard. Oyedepo’s flagship Faith Tabernacle in Lagos is described by one Christian source, writing in 2000, as follows:

the largest church facility in the world, seating an approximate 53,000 people. In addition to this mega sanctuary, their campus also consists of a Bible college, residential quarters and various other facilities that enhance their outreach to the city. Judging by the more than 47,000 attendees in one service, they are doing an excellent job of impacting their region.

The BBC, profiling the Tabernacle in 1999, provides some wider context:

As living standards have collapsed in the past 15 years, and as schools and hospitals fall down, so bigger and bigger churches are still being built.

Online Nigeria provides a profile of the man himself:

David Oyedepo, general overseer of Living Faith Ministries aka Winners Chapel has grown to become an oak tree in Christendom. His 50,000 capacity worship centre known as Cannanland in Otta, Ogun State , has attracted Christian worshippers from within and outside the country. Newswatch learnt that in the last 10 years of his ministry, many barren women have given birth to babies after attending his miracle programmes. Many more claimed that they received healings, secured employment, financial breakthroughs, turn-arounds in their respective businesses and deliverance from ancestral curses.

Oyedepo’s motivational, faith-building teachings have also endeared him to many. As part of his outreach programmes, the church acquired an aircraft in 1996 to facilitate his evangelism programmes to countries outside Nigeria . Tagged “Gospel on Wings,” the programme was launched as an arm of the World Mission Agency Incorporated – the organ responsible for foreign mission operations.

Today, the church is said to exist in every state of Nigeria and in some other African countries. Oyedepo has more than 20 books published by his Dominion Publishing House to complement his soul- winning efforts.

Newswatch gives further details:

David Oyedepo, bishop of Living Faith Outreach more popular as Winners’’ Chapel, is a man who lives like an accomplished person. Whenever he or Faith, his wife is going out in the town, either separately or together, they usually go out with a convoy of vehicles and blaring of siren to beat the traffic. The couple like riding in posh jeep vehicles with one or two vehicles in front and a similar number of cars following the one occupied by either of them.

Although the Winners’ Chapel is one of Africa’s fastest-growing Pentecostal churches, Oyedepo is often invited for crusades by other churches. He has a global vision of evangelism and has taken the gospel outside the shores of Nigeria, which have yielded a lot of financial rewards. “Your financial revolution is tied to what you do with your finances on the gospel,” he often tells his congregation.

As part of his outreach programmes, Oyedepo, who is stupendously rich acquired a multi-million naira aircraft in 1996 to facilitate his evangelism programmes to countries outside Nigeria. This earned him the appellation “Jet-Age pastor”. This powerful man of God believes that he is sent to a generation and not just a denomination to work signs and wonders. Only recently, Oyedepo established the Covenant University in Ota, Ogun State, thereby using his wealth for the promotion of tertiary education in Nigeria.

Dipo Ajayi, a pastor of the church, however, said that the money Winners’ Chapel has made came from voluntary contributions. “Your financial standing as a Christian, born-again is not dictated by the economy of the nation. We are self-sufficient; we operate the heavenly budget,” he said.

Last autumn Oyedepo contributed to a book about the global significance of Nigerian Christianity edited by C Peter Wagner, the influential American Charismatic who promotes “spiritual warfare” ideas. The article from 2000 also notes that in Wagner’s terminology, Oyedepo is running an “Apostolic reformation” church, meaning a church held together through the spiritual charisma of its leader rather than a denominational structure. Wagner sees these kinds of churches as the future of Christianity, and just last October Oyedepo was speaking at a revival conference convened by Wagner at Haggard’s New Life Church in Colorado. Perhaps a financial accountability conference should be next on the agenda?

26 Responses

  1. Your comments on Bishop David Oyedepo shows that you are not very sure of the massage you are trying to get out. Is the Bishop mismanaging church funds? Do you have any evidence to substantiate your allegations?

  2. I don’t know whether Oyedepo is mismanaging funds or not, although the reports I cited suggest that there are questions that need answering.

    In the USA there are organsations such as MinistryWatch and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, to which many high-profile ministers submit their finances in the interests of transparency and accountability. I think Oyedepo would be wise to do likelise.

  3. Bartholomew, have done a research into the financial structure of the church? Do you have access to their financial records? What really are you basing your comments on? I see you’ve put comments by other news agencies on your article, can you confidently vouch for their comments? What have you done in looking for answers to the questions you have raised? Do you really want answers to those questions or you just want your readers to have doubts in their minds about Bishop Oyedepo? I think you should be wise in chosing what you write!

  4. Well, I’m curious. Aren’t you?

  5. please tell oyedepo to reconcile with the church in ghana. that is the only his preaching will have meaning to believers.

    • Tell God to reconcile with satan the Devil okay. Did you know what he did? He can never reconcile the pastor imposes demonic accomplishment to the church.

  6. PLEASE MY DEAR WRITER BATHELEOMY CAN YOU HOMBLY ENJOY EVERY THING THROUGH THE FAITH GOD WILL IMPERT IN YOUR HEARTH BY ACCEPTING OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR LORD AND PERSONAL SAVIOUR.IF YOU DON´T MIND I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU THAT OYEDEPO AND HIS BISHOPS e.g BISHOP DICKSON OF OWERRI BRANCH HAS DONE ONE OF THE GREATHEST WORK IN OUR TIME BY TEACHING ME THE WAY TO SUCCES AND HE WILL KEEP MOVING ON DOING THE WORK THE ALMIGHTY GOD CALLED HIM FOR.I PRAY GOD WILL KEEP OVER FILLING THE BAGS OF HIS PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD AS WE DO THE GOOD WORK OF FAITH.EMEKA FROM GERMANY.

  7. Find something constructive to do. Oyedepo is doing a great work.

  8. I deeply love and respect Bishop Oyedepo.I am not sure what is going on.But I think that nothing under the planet earth us hidden from the almighty God.If something fishy is going on, it is just a matter of time God will glorify himself

  9. I HOPE THE LORD WILL COME DOWN AND TOUCH OUR CONTINENT AFRICA WE HAVE MANY PROBLEM,U GUY SHOULD FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO TALK ABOUT,I THINK TALKING ABOUT A MAN OF GOD COULD BE DANGERIOUS BUT I SUPPORT THE FACT THAT GOD WILL COME AT HIS OWN TIME AND JUDGE EVERY,REMEMBER JUDGE NOT THAT U MAY NOT BE JUDGE,GOD BLESS U ALL

  10. I have never been involved in the inner workings of any church but i do know that there are lots of people who genuinely love and fear God and serve God in different churches. I do not want to beleive that such people would stand by and watch financial impropriety go on without saying or doing something. Having said that, we as christains also need to be careful how we are percieved by the unbelievers around us. Our behaviour and actions speak louder than words. Churches in many countries are regarded as charitable organisations and are still required to keep their books and be accountable for all the funds they received. There is absolutely nothing wrong with churches submitting themselves to financial audit, not because they need to prove something to anyone but because they need to be accountable to the congregation and also because they might learna thing or 2 from the auditors that might be beneficial to the church.

  11. If the Bishop should face you ,you will be reduced to dust;better talk about other societal evils and his millions of dollars a minute are not your concern,let the tax officers worry about that howbeit;churches are tax free

  12. Looks to me that a number of commentators here are actually scared of Oyedepo. “Talking about a man of God may be dangerous” (Oladio); and now “you will be reduced to dust” (anonymous). This attitude doesn’t seem very healthy to me.

    • Always think before you reel out words. It could be lurk to devour you, it could be excruciating to life to exacerbate it the more is to speak of a man of God you do not know more about. Churches are owned by God and the Pastors and so called Bishops are the managers. If my pastor is a bad man I believe he is just the manager and the owner will always know what to do. I cannot judge any Pastor or Bishop for any reason because they are working for the Almighty God who can destroy them in a click of a finger. Think and stop judging no matter what you heard.

  13. I am surprised by your comments.The lie is the The president of Nigeria will stop the supply of oil to Ghana.I think you lied.If you have lied the anger of God will be on you and your family

  14. well dont you think there are better things for you to talk about rather than talking about how bishop oyedepo is running is ministeries.why dont you leave everything for God to jugde and the tax authority to worry about or do you earn a living under the tax authority?maybe you are being owed 1 year salary.And i will like to ask you are the congregation of winners chapel complaining?pls mind your business and think about how to better your life and that of your generation, by making an impact and writing about things that will uplift the african race.

  15. We should be careful about the way we point accusing fingers to genuine men of God like Bishop Oyedipo. If you don’t have anything to say, it is better for you to keep silence and seal your lips to prevent the anger of God from pouring down on you.
    If you are not in the spirit and not a person of God that understand spiritual issues you will not be able to know or understand the level of anointing upon Bishop Oyedepo.
    We are living in a spiritual world. People should be careful on how they discuss spiritual issues, especially when they are ignorant about spiritual things.

  16. I imagine some of the previous comments are too deep for the simple, hence Bartholomew’s interpretation suggested fear. Whereas to me the issue is common to men and I think they ought to be granted common sense answers.
    Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone …”
    In reality, there was a time when the total annual income of this great ministry was less than N5,000. It was a trying time when Bishop Oyedepo and the faithful men that stood by him had limited resources to propagate the gospel. Yet, records have it that vouchers had to be approved to buy common fuel as far back as at the onset of the ministry. Bartholomew, the questions is … where were you then? Have you considered starting your audit from that time when the only income was offering collections from these great men of faith? Today, the ministry has grown so big that its financial books are kept by the best team of chartered accountants you can find. And, now there is a sudden need to determine if the BISHOP is faithful? God is not mocked … His principle is that you must first be faithful with little before much can be committed into your hands. Therefore, if the MUCH has to be audited, then the LITTLE deserves to be treated the same way. How come no one ever asked for it? The moral of it all is that if you had failed to start by asking for justification over the little in time past then it is out of place for you to ask your questions in the first instance. Be rest assured, God’s strong base is unchanging, having this inscription on it: The Lord has knowledge of those who are his; and, let everyone who calls the name of the Lord abstain from all unrighteousness.
    Bartholomew, I am now entrusting you to God and to His message that tells how kind He is. That message can help you grow and can give you the inheritance that is shared by all of God’s holy people … and, no one else can save us. Indeed, we can be saved only by the power of the One named Jesus Christ [who died to redeeem and reconcile you to God] and not by any other person. Therefore, I urge you to repent, be converted and baptised, you and your household and then you will receive the GIFT of eternal life!

  17. Bishop David Oyedepo is surch a one that you have to be very be careful because i percieve strongly within me that he is God sent to proof the reality of God here on earth.
    To have a glimpsy of what God can do, see his instrument Bishop Oyedepo. As man cannot understand God so his servant. Help me Lord to understand what you put in your servant.

  18. my papa is a great man of God any one or group of people that tries to destory his reputation the lord God will judge them all daily.bishop oyedipo is a man of vitue sent by God Almight to librate people in this world.
    papa may the lord almight grant u more strenght to do his work in jesus might Amen.

  19. You have to be very careful these days. even the bible says in the last days there are going to be fake christs and false prophets. they will try by all means to convince you and they will have people to testify that they have been healed, they will build empires, People open your eyes. Use the bible to do your test on the prophets. Im not saying he is a bad man or a good man, i have not seen him that much but you have to be very careful on the last day Jesus will say i do not know you because u were worshipping things which were not from from him. Read the bible i urge you.

  20. Nigerians come from a back ground of idolatory. They have just replaced their graven images with mortal men who are more hard working, more cunning and often times more intelligent than them. They don’t question such people. They think it is ungodly to be a Berean Christian especially when their idols hide behind ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm’, but they forget 2 Peter 2:1-5. This worship of mortal men is also the root of the corruption that leaves most Nigerians with gaping mouths waiting for prahyer hand outs in the churches of their new gods.

  21. i cannot judge any man of God whether genuine or fake but i am sure of his that the Owner of His work knows what to do to ensure kingdom progress and humanity joy.

    i cannot say that this man of God in question is fake, devilish or wicked as some have painted him all round the corner, because my destiny as a called agent of change in the work of the Father started right under the ministry of this man of God.

    i got saved, discovered and trained in this ministry right from winners’ chapel, Accra-Ghana. as a matter of fact, i have tasted the raw power of God in this ministry. so, do you expect me to admit that he is fake?

    we need to know that God created everything including man and so He still has every RIGHT to do whatever pleases him to anyone- man of God or lay man.

    it is very clear that if this man of God is what some call him out there, the Unchangeable Changer is still very much in business. He knows what to do. so stop saying rubbish,ok?!!!!

    good day and God bless all, but advisably save souls into the kingdom with your time if you do not know what to use it for. or better still intercede for people and for meeeeee.

    thanks.

    Pastor Joshua Olatunde
    JOSHUA OLATUNDE PRAYER AND EVANGELISTIC MINISTRIES(JOPEM)
    NIGERIA.

  22. Bishop oyedepo is really doing a great job for the Lord here in ogun state. But in the area of winning this state for christ there is stil a vaccum to fill in terms of the various fallow mission field as recorded in the book of mathew 25v3i-46. The bishop cannot be everywhere hence he needs men who are veterans in practical missons to do the job to win the state where his seat is located men who arecomitted to win this state for christ through his ministry for he has what is required to do it but no labourers. I need the bishops audience as a volunteer with a difference after havving been in this task of missions since 1980 here in ogun state. My name is charles ohiku and I hope papa should be allowed to read this message and pray over it God bless

  23. Futher to my comment. Charles Ohiku s Gsm No is 08033192583. Expecting a reply

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