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London church criticised by luxury travel spending

by Kelly Valencia
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A church in Peckham, south London, has been found to have spent £180,000 on business-class flights in five years. 

That's according to a report by the Charity Commission after it finalised a three-year-long investigation into the church's mismanagement of funds. 

The charities watchdog started to look into The Everlasting Arms Ministries after it noticed "significant payments" had been made to members of the church and companies connected with it. 

In its final report, the watchdog say former bosses of the church were responsible for the mismanagement of funds. 

They also found church leaders used £457,655, gathered to use on "international reach", on luxury hotels over a three-year period. 

As a result of the investigation, the previous trustees, including the senior pastor, were replaced by a new group. The watchdog also froze the church's assets in February 2020 before unfreezing them this year.

Among other conclusions, the report said the senior pastor was given nearly £216,000 from the church for private and charity spending over the four years to March 2020 as well getting large pay rises. 

The Charity Commission said: "The previous trustee board is responsible for serious management and/or misconduct in the administration of the charity. How they governed and managed the charity prior to the commission's intervention falls well below the standard that the commission expects."

But it also said the new board had made "significant efforts" to improve the way the charity is run to "strengthen the charity's overall governance and its policies and procedures".

Premier has contacted the Everlasting Arms Ministry for comment.

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