A Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA ) document has confirmed that televangelist Ezekiel Odero’s New Life Prayer Centre and Church has been filing tax returns, clearing doubt about its compliance with the law.
“This is to confirm that New Life Prayer Centre and Church, personal identification number P051523861H, has filed relevant tax returns and paid taxes due as provided by law. This certificate will be valid for 12 months up to June 28, 2023,” states the tax compliance certificate.
On Thursday, Registrar of Societies Jane Joram told senators that Pastor Ezekiel’s church and cult leader Paul Mackenzie’s Good News International church have been served with a 30-day notice to show cause as to why they should not be closed for failing to comply with some regulations. The notices were issued on 27 April.
The registrar indicated that Mackenzie’s church risks closure as its objectives are likely to be used for unlawful purposes and, therefore, are incompatible with the welfare of the people of Kenya.
Pastor Ezekiel’s church faces closure for failing to file tax returns for the past 10 years.
He is already battling for a court to unfreeze bank and M-Pesa accounts, numbering more than 35, and the restitution of his World Evangelism television station as investigations into the Shakahola massacre intensify.
On Wednesday, Mombasa High Court granted Pastor Ezekiel and his followers access to the church premises in Mavueni Kilifi County, as well as uninterrupted services.
Mombasa Presiding Judge Olga Sewe granted the orders after the televangelist complained about the difficulties he was facing accessing the church and conducting services – due to heavy police presence there.
The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) suspended the operations of the television station and the church located in Mavueni.
This was after Pastor Ezekiel was arrested and arraigned over the Shakahola massacre that has claimed at least 130 lives.
He, however, moved to the High Court to overturn the decision through a team of eight lawyers including Jared Magolo, Cliff Ombeta, Danstan Omari, Shadrack Wambui, Brian Okoko, and Duncan Osoro.
Pastor Ezekiel has termed the allegations against him unsubstantiated, scandalous and untrue, and denied involvement in the Shakahola mass murder and any association with Mackenzie.
He has argued that freezing his bank accounts has unreasonably denied him and his congregation the freedom of religion and the right to property as decreed in the constitution.
According to Pastor Ezekiel, the freezing of the church’s bank accounts is part of the unconstitutional path that the State has taken to frustrate his ministry despite knowing he is innocent of any claims about the Shakahola massacre.
He has sued Attorney-General Justin Muturi, Inspector-General of Police Japheth Koome, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the CA and its chief officer Ezra Chiloba, and the Interior ministry.
The Assets Recovery Agency, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Council of Churches of Kenya are among the interested parties.
Both Mackenzie and Pastor Ezekiel are under investigation for the offences of aiding suicide, murder, abduction, radicalisation, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud and money laundering, and for being accessories before or after the fact.