South African Authorities Threaten To Jail Pastor Chris Oyakhilome Over Financial Records


The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, which is currently investigating the commercialization of religion and abuse of people’s beliefs, said several religious leaders in the country could be jailed if they fail to comply with the demands of the commission to submit their ordination certificate, registration certificate, bank statements, and annual financial statements from 2012.

The head of the commission, Ms. Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, said the commission had been forced to take a legal route because some of the church leaders had failed to comply with the directive. Oyakhilome, the founder of Christ Embassy, had indicated he would take a legal action to stop the commission from forcing it to open his books.Christ Embassy had earlier sought an extension of time to enable it review its financial records. Ms. Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said they were also considering filing charges of intimidation against religious leaders who had publicly threatened the commission. She wondered why some pastors would take money from their followers and, yet, refuse to provide their financial records.

She said: “Some of these religious leaders will face prison if they do not comply and we have been clear about our course of action. These people take money from people. What are they doing with that money? We want to know. We will not back down.

If he (Mr. Oyakhilome) intends on that route, we are ready. He will have to face the same fate as the others who refuse to hand over their financial records.”

While most of the old traditional churches had requested an extension of time; a lot of the new breed churches had threatened court action. Earlier this month, a South African pastor, Paseka Motsoeneng, the head of Incredible Happenings Church, told the commission he would rather go to jail than hand over his financial records