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Church Mission Society suspects fraud behind copycat company

18 June 2021

The official CMS website

The official CMS website

A RECENTLY established Pakistani-led company, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) Ltd, will have to change its name within one month on suspicion of fraudulent intentions, after a successful request from the Church Mission Society (CMS) to the Company Names Tribunal.

The new Church Missionary Society, designated as a “religious organisation” in Companies House, and based in London, was formed in July 2020 by British-based Nasreen Sadiq; it has three named Pakistani-based directors: Naeem Sadiq, Farrukh Javed, and Samauel Bashir Masey.

The company is entirely unrelated to the Christian charity CMS, which was founded in London in 1799, began overseas mission work in 1804, and was named the Church Missionary Society until April 1995. Today, CMS, whose patron is the Archbishop of Canterbury, works with partner churches in 40 countries across Africa, Asia, South America, the Middle East, Europe, and the UK.

Last year, the charity informed its supporters via its website that the new company had been registered with Companies House “using the articles of association of Church Mission Society, for reasons that we suspect are fraudulent”. It urged its supporters to use the correct URL links for the official CMS website, and to check that the domain had a valid security certificate before making a donation.

One theory put forward by CMS is that the new company was set up in an attempt to use the CMS name to issue powers of attorney to try to obtain land that used to be owned by the charity.

A decision published on the Company Names Tribunal website last week states that the Church Missionary Society must change its name by 7 July, and pay £800 to cover the costs of the application and statement of case paid by CMS to secure the change.

The director of finance and corporate services for the Church Mission Society, Charlie Walker, said: “We can confirm that, as stated on gov.uk, in 2020 a group entirely unrelated to Church Mission Society (CMS) registered with Companies House under the name Church Missionary Society (CMS) LTD. CMS took this matter to the Company Names Tribunal to request that the name be changed, and it was decided in our favour. This group will be required to cease using the name Church Missionary Society (CMS) LTD. We are grateful for this outcome.”

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