Sinful pastor handed jail term for dodging £72,000 in tax

Anekwe dodged �72,000 in tax
Anekwe dodged �72,000 in tax
  • Kings Langley holy man had earned £238,000 in five years but failed to pay the £72,000 tax on those earnings
  • Anekwe was given the chance to come clean about his tax affairs but he failed to do so
  • HMRC says pastor is now ‘paying the price for his dishonesty’

A self-employed pastor who withheld details of his income to dodge £72,000 in tax, has been handed a suspended two-year jail term after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.

Jerome Uba Anekwe, 42, of Five Acres, Kings Langley, preached at the El-Shaddai Christian Centre, London, from 2004 to 2009 but never declared any of his £238,000 earnings.

He was given the chance to come clean about his tax affairs after HMRC contacted him in relation to his work as a pastor but he failed to do so, resulting in an underpayment of Income Tax totalling £72,000.

Chris Gill, assistant director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said Anekwe is paying the price for failing to come clean over his crime.

Mr Gill said: “Anekwe worked as a self-employed pastor and knew full well he should have paid the tax due but failed to do so.

“He was offered the chance to put his financial affairs in order, and he could have avoided a criminal record and serious damage to his reputation but, even at that stage, he continued to lie. Now he is paying the price for his dishonesty.

He was offered the chance to put his financial affairs in order, and he could have avoided a criminal record and serious damage to his reputation but, even at that stage, he continued to lie.

Chris Gill, assistant director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC

“HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and anyone deliberately choosing to evade their taxes will be prosecuted. This sends a clear message that we will try and give people a chance to put their affairs in order, but if they refuse to we will take firm action.”

Anekwe pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £2,500 at the Old Bailey, London, yesterday (Monday) afternoon.