In November 2020, at The Loveworld Pastors and Partner’s conference of Christ Embassy Church, CEO of Capital Forex and Investment trading limited, Maxwell Odum was awarded ‘Top Partner of the year’ for the second year running.
The award is much coveted by Senior pastors and members of Christ Embassy because it celebrates individuals who had donated the most money into church projects. Such donors are referred to as ‘Loveworld Partners’.
Maxwell Odum had reportedly donated N1Billion.
Trouble however started in November last year after the company investors alleged a ‘mismanagement of the funds” by the business man. Several investors who had not been paid filed petitions and in April 2021, Detectives from the Lagos State Police Command reportedly detained Odum.
He was picked up by operatives of the Ikoyi office of the Special Fraud Unit of the command and held for about 6 hours before being released on bail based on personal recognition.
NewsWireNGR gathered that the Central Bank of Nigeria had said 125, 397 investors deposited a total of 171, 128,219,041 into accounts belonging to the company.
The Apex bank in a suit with suit Number FHC/PH/MIsC/35/2021, before the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on the 10th of February, had filed an exparte motion seeking an order of the court to stop all debit transactions from MBA accounts.
The court on the 11th of February ordered that accounts maintained in any bank in Nigeria by the company be forthwith frozen for a period of time sufficient for the Central Bank of Nigeria to conclude the ongoing investigation and inquiry into the affairs of the Company.
The accounts include 39 Naira bank accounts domiciled in Access Bank, EcoBank, FCMB, GTB, Suntrust, Stanbic IBTC, Sterling Bank, UBA, Union Bank, Unity Bank and Zenith Bank.
Others are 8 dollar accounts domiciled in FCMB, Ecobank, Stanbic IBTC, UBA and Sterling Bank.
According to the CBN, investors from Port Harcourt made up 43.45 per cent of the total investors.
Reacting to the court order, MBA informed its investors that it will be constrained to refrain from any further actions or statements that may affect or influence the ongoing investigation as the matter is now subjudice.
“It said “We have gathered that the actions of the Central Bank of Nigeria are well within the confines of their statutory obligations and was instigated by some investors against our earlier advice.
“These disruptions have interfered with our plans and incapacitated the steps we have initiated towards the realization of the repayment of capital investments.
However on Monday, investors in Port Harcourt gathered at Christ Embassy in protest, asking Christ Embassy’s Pastor Chris Oyakhilome to compel Maxwell Odum to refund their money.
An investor , David Spencer who spoke to Sahara Reporters, said he was introduced to MBA by a staff member who claimed that the investment scheme was government approved.
He said, “The staff member told me the company has approval certificate from CBN and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. He also said SEC has certified the company hence I decided to invest my capital with them. As we speak, I am still in a state of shock. I have taken legal steps against the MBA, I wonder why an investment company approved by CBN and the EFCC will be like that.
“We later learnt that MBA lied to us that they also had SEC approval. I want to use this opportunity to call on the President and the National Assembly, to as a matter of urgency wade into this issue. If over 70, 000 investors lose their hard-earned money, that would further deplete the economy.”
This is not the first time Christ Embassy church has been embroiled in donation fraud scandals by members.
In 2002, Lawrence Agada was arrested for stealing over N9 million naira over a period of time from the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, where he was employed as a cashier. Upon further investigations, it was revealed that he have most of the money as tithes and offerings to Christ Embassy church.