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Pastor Kobiri and wife in court over GH¢23m fraud

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Pastor Kobiri and wife

Pastor Kelvin Kwesi Kobiri now known as Kelvin Elson Godson, founder of Zoe Outreach Embassy Church in Accra and Tarkwa, and his wife Sabina Elson Godson have been put before an Accra High Court for allegedly collecting over GH¢23 million from 875 customers including church members to invest in real estate and other investments.

Charged with 41 counts of conspiracy to defraud, defrauding by false pretenses and money laundering, Pastor Kobiri and his wife have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court presided over by Justice Mary Yanzuh has admitted the accused persons to bail in the sum of GH¢23 million with three sureties each. Two of the three sureties are to be justified with land property.

The court ordered that the sureties should deposit recognised national identity cards and passports at the court’s registry.

It further ordered the couple to be reporting once a month to the Case Investigator at the Economic Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service.

Counsel for the accused person prayed for bail saying the bail of his client should not be harsh or excessive but rather it should be such that the accused would be able to execute.

According to counsel, accused persons have cooperated with the Police and they have made some payments to the Police, adding that, the last money paid to the Police was GH¢150,000.

Assistant State Attorney Dorm Esi Fiadzoe, who represented the Republic, did not oppose bail but mentioned that the bail conditions should be stringent enough to make the accused persons appear to stand trial.

The matter has been adjourned to September 5, 2022, for mention.

The case being prosecuted was that the complainants, numbering 875 are mostly congregants of Pastor Kobiri’s church in Accra and Tarkwa and its environs in the Western Region.

Prosecution said pastor Kobiri is also the founder and General overseer of Zoe Outreach Embassy Church with branches in Accra and Tarkwa.

It said Sabina Elson Godson is the wife of Rev. Kobiri and they are both owners of EL Real Estate Limited.

The prosecution said Pastor Kobiri is also the owner of Fromfrom Capital Limited, a company he bought from the original owners and registered in the name of his employees, who are holding trust for him.

It said in the beginning of the year 2018, Pastor Kobiri presented to members of his church and the public that he was operating a scheme called “Lease and Buy Back” where he would sell plots of land and other landed properties to them.

The prosecution said Kobiri said he would also invest the money in his investment company and later buy the same back at high prices.

According to prosecution, Kobiri then started receiving payments from members of his church and the public from April 2018 under the guise of selling lands and property to them and later purchased them back.

The prosecutor said Kobiri asked complainants to pay various sums of money into different bank accounts after which the accused persons prepared fictitious documents purportedly covering some lands to the complainants.

It said the accused persons indicated that the monies realised from the sale of the land were invested in the international money market through Tikowire Capital Limited, fine Fort Capital Limited, Top FX and Edge FX.

“In a letter dated April 18th, 2019, the National Security Coordinator requested the Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to conduct investigations into the activities of the EL Real Estate Limited in relation to payment of dividends to their customers who made investment with them.”

According to prosecution, investigations revealed that accused persons represented to the complainants that they would sell plots of land and other landed properties to them, investing the principal sums collected from the complainants in their companies and later buy back the plots at higher prices.

It said as part of agreements, after the maturity date, they would pay principal interest rates between 100 and 480 per cent but failed to do so and after several demands from the complainants and till date the accused have not paid any monies to the complainants.

Prosecution said during the period the complainants were paying monies into the accounts of the accused persons company and Kobiri deposited and withdrew huge sums of money from Fine Fort Capital and bought Fromfrom Capital Limited from its owners by August 31, 2018.

According to the prosecution, that was not part of the “lease-buy-back” agreement.

It said further investigations revealed that EL Real Estate Limited, a company registered with the core mandate of selling lands and other landed properties had rather ventured into providing finance and investments services without license from the authorised entity which is Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Fine Fort Capital Limited is also not licensed to engage in the business of investment /fund management. Tikowire Capital Limited and Fromfrom Capital Limited are however licensed to do business of investment/ fund Management,” prosecution said.

It said in all, 875 persons invested a total of GH¢23,773,950 with the companies.

According to prosecution, 784 persons invested a total of GH¢19, 288,950 with EL Real Estates Limited, 79 persons also invested a total of GH¢4, 208, 500 with Tikowire Capital Limited while 12 others also invested a total of GH¢275,500 with Fromfrom Capital limited.

It said on April 18, 2019, accused persons were arrested and granted police enquiry bail.

Source: GNA

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