The gospel according to Tobi
Cult News, Issue 1514
HIGH ROLLER: SPAC Nation’s Rolex-wearing chief ‘pastor’ Tobi Adegboyega, who has political friends in high places
THESE are trying times for the Salvation Proclaimers Anointed Church, better known as SPAC Nation, which is under investigation by both the Charity Commission and the Serious Fraud Office.

Scotland Yard is studying allegations of “potential fraud” as well as sexual abuse following a BBC Panorama film last month. Two weeks ago the House of Commons heard damning allegations from Labour MP Steve Reed about the “cult”, as he described it.

Some places, however, are still happy to welcome SPAC Nation – and its money. The Eye learns that chief “pastor” Tobi Adegboyega and more than 100 guests hired the magnificent Nash-designed HQ of the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall for a black-tie New Year’s Eve Gala three weeks ago, at staggering expense. The salvation proclaimers enjoyed coloured cocktails, canapés, computer games and late-night partying amid the marbled halls and Ionic columns, when not posing for selfies on the grand staircase under a 15-foot chandelier donated by George IV to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo.

Glitz and wealth
So proud are they of the event, titled “Class”, that church leaders are now using pictures taken at the IoD as their Twitter photos, in keeping with the SPAC tradition of attracting young congregants with extravagant displays of glitz and wealth. Tobi Adegboyega, who lives in a £2.5m mansion in the Surrey stockbroker belt, arrives for church services in a £150,000 Rolls-Royce.

As we reported last November (Eye 1510), he has political friends in high places – notably former Croydon MP Gavin Barwell, who as Theresa May’s chief of staff invited Pastor Tobi to 10 Downing Street in May 2018. At last year’s Tory conference Adegboyega was given a seat in the row behind prime minister Boris Johnson. Soon afterwards Croydon Conservatives selected a 20-year-old SPAC pastor as their candidate in a council by-election.

But the love affair with the Tories may be cooling. Church members have instead started tweeting enthusiastically about ex-MP Rory Stewart, who is running for London mayor as an independent. “Incredibly insightful!” raved one self-styled “mobiliser” from SPAC Nation after meeting him last week. “His authenticity and compassion for this City is exactly what we need. #RoryForLondon.”

‘Prosperity Gospel’
Is an association with SPAC Nation really what Stewart needs? Steve Reed MP, who has passed a dossier of more than a dozen cases to Inspector Knacker, told the House of Commons on 8 January that “the leaders of this organisation appear to be perpetrating fraud in order to enrich themselves”. He had spoken to members who were “coached to commit benefit fraud” to raise money for the church, and to others “who were coerced into handing over their entire student loans”. Some followers, he said, had been pressurised into setting up fake businesses to obtain fraudulent loans which they gave to church leaders.

Alleging that “there is often also sexual exploitation” of young black girls in the church, he detected “worrying echoes of the Rotherham child abuse scandal… as one desperate mum told me: if this was happening to white middle-class children, would it have been ignored for so many years?” He concluded: “In my opinion, SPAC Nation is a criminal enterprise masquerading as a Church.”

Undaunted, the Rolex-wearing Pastor Tobi continues to preach his “Prosperity Gospel”. No nonsense about camels and the eye of a needle for him. “God,” he explains, “is a trader.” No wonder the Institute of Directors were impressed!

More top stories in the latest issue:

David Frost, the Whitehall insider from the low tax, low regulation school of Tories, who will lead negotiations for a UK trade deal with the EU.

The army should already be training with their new Ajax armoured reconnaissance vehicles but – guess what! – delivery is behind schedule.

Boris Johnson, along with Prince Brian, responds in double-quick time to the death of Sultan Qaboos of Oman – a ‘priority market’ for UK arms sales.

With part of its business based offshore, Bet365 saves £48m in tax – as the five biggest gambling firms combined pay just £25m to tackle problem gambling.

More on the war of the Windsors from ‘Flunkey’ – who foretold the Sussex exit from the royal stage (or Sexit, as palace insiders call it) last October.

Despite patriotic guff in its adverts about British values, since the Brexit vote HSBC has shifted 1,000 staff and ownership of nine subsidiaries to France.

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Next issue on sale: 18th February 2020
Private Eye Issue 1514
In This Issue
Frog Prince agrees to hop it – Nursery Times Exclusive… Arlene and Michelle in the jacuzzi (‘Stormont’, shurely?) as reality show Love Ireland returns… I was a victim of racism too, claims exiled posh, white Fergie… GB steps away from UK to start new life in Toronto to get away from the Royal Family… Government announces costly plan for new HL2 House of Lords in York… Rebecca Long-Bailey’s Diary, as told to Craig Brown

Offshore travel
Flybe’s long haul bailout

Opioid crisis
MD on deadly painkillers

Kingdom Cummings
Dom’s favourite book

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18th February 2020
Private Eye Issue 1513