The founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, becomes the latest cleric to be exposed in the Pandora Papers investigation.
Recall that the Panama Papers had previously exposed how Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy and the late Temitope Joshua, the founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, set up a family offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.
Oyedepo’s own offshore company popped up as part of the ongoing global Pandora Papers reporting project, led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The investigation involving over 600 journalists and over 100 media organisations have exposed the financial dealings of former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta, the image-maker of Russian President Vladimir Putin and many others
The investigation also uncovered financial secrets, including those of politicians, former and serving public officials, including Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, former PDP Vice-presidential candidate, Peter Obi, APC chieftain, Senator Stella Oduah, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, among others
The latest report published on Premium Times, revealed that in August 2007 Oyedepo contracted the services of Business Centrum Limited, a London-based agent, to help him set up a company in the infamous tax haven for him and his immediate family.
Business Centrum subsequently subcontracted Trident Trust Group, one of the world’s leading secrecy enablers and one of the most notorious providers of offshore corporate and financial services.
The company, Zadok Investments Limited, was set up on August 20, 2007 with 50,000 ordinary shares with a value of $1.00 each.
Although the directors of the company are Oyedepo and his two sons – David (junior) and Isaac, every member of Oyedepo’s family are listed as shareholders.
Oyedepo and his wife, Faith, are the largest shareholders with 30 percent of shares each.
His children – David (junior), who in 2016 was appointed resident pastor of the headquarters of the church, known as Faith Tabernacle, has 10 percent while Isaac, who is the resident pastor of the church’s branch in Maryland, the United States of America, also has 10 per cent of the shares.
Love and Joy – the two daughters of the cleric – were similarly given 10 percent shares each.
The documents did not reveal the exact businesses and transactions the offshore company was set up to conduct.
According to Pandora Papers, the entity however appears to be the family’s investment vehicle under which the family’s wealth is warehoused for offshore management.
When reached via his personal email address, Bishop Oyedepo did not respond to questions sent to him seeking his comments.
Questions were also sent to the publicised emails of his church, including that of the church’s branch in Maryland. Some of the emails returned undelivered while we did not receive any response for those that delivered.
The telephone number Oyedepo listed in company documents failed to connect