Pastor Daniel Olukoya and his church, Mountain Of Fire Miracles Ministries, MFM, are in the news for the wrong reason as thirteen former members accused them of tax fraud in the United States.
The allegation against the church was before a court in the US, according to Sahara Reporters.
The publication said it all started when MFM dragged Pastors Lawrence Adetunji, Ronke Adetunji, and 11 former members of the church in Bowie, Maryland before the court.
The sued pastors and former church members in turn accused Olukoya, and the church of engaging in fraudulent activities in the US, including evasion of duties owed to US authorities, the report said.
Citing court documents in its possession, the paper said the issues in contention was real property described as 5506 and 5503 Church Road in Bowie, Maryland, which were acquired by MFM Bowie in 2001 and 2004 respectively.
Also in contention was funds for the MFM building in Bowie. MFM International (Lagos) claims that the property acquired with the contributions and offerings of the members of MFM in Bowie, without assistance of any form from Mr. Olukoya or MFM headquarters, are property of MFM headquarters by way of trust.
However, in their defence, according to the report, the defendants alleged that they left the church due to its involvement in alleged illegal and fraudulent activities, saying it was fond of making false claims to evade U.S. Customs duties and taxes on books exported from Nigeria to U.S.
Giving details of how the church perpetrated the alleged act, the paper quoted the defendants as saying that, “the plaintiffs would ship prayer books (specifically, ’70 Days Prayer & Fasting” and “Pray Your Way Into [current year]’ to various U.S.-based MFM branches with a cover letter categorizing the books as “donations” to be distributed to local parishioners. However, once delivered to the United States, instructions were then emailed to U.S. pastors by MFM International and /or MFM USA instructing them of the price they must charge parishioners in selling these books. The pastors were then instructed to remit the earnings of their sales to MFM International.”