The High Court (Criminal Court 3 Division) has granted a GH¢23 million bail to the Founder and General Overseer of Zoe Outreach Embassy Church, together with his wife, in an alleged fraud and money laundering trial.
Pastor Kelvin Elson Godson, alias Kelvin Kwasi Kobir, whose church has branches across Accra and Tarkwa, has been charged, together with his wife, Sabina Elson Godson, with 40 counts of conspiracy to defraud by false pretense, and one count of money laundering.
Pastor and Mrs. Godson are to present three sureties each, with one surety for each of the accused persons to be justified with documents of a landed property.
One surety for each of them is also to deposit a passport, while the other sureties are each required to deposit a national identity card with the registry of the court.
Additionally, Her Ladyship Mary Yamzuh presiding, also ordered the Zoe Church Pastor and his wife to report monthly to the Economic Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), of the Ghana Police Service.
An Assistant State Attorney, Dorm Esi Fiadzo, told the court that the accused persons were arrested on April 18, 2019, based on the complaints of about 875 people, mostly members of the church.
They were, however, granted police enquiry bail, she said.
Below are the facts of the case as narrated by the Assistant State Attorney in Court.
The complainants, about 875 in number, are mostly congregants of the first accused person’s church in Accra and Tarkwa and its environs in the Western Region.
The first accused person, Pastor Kelvin Elson Godson, aka Kelvin Kwasi Kobiri, is the Founder and General Overseer of the Zoe Outreach Embassy Church with branches in Accra and Tarkwa.
The second accused person, Sabina Elson Godson, is the wife of the first accused person and both of them are the owners of EL Real Estate Limited.
The first accused person is also the owner of Fromfrom Capital Limited, a company he bought from the original owners and registered in the names of his employees, who are holding it in trust for him.
At the beginning of the year 2018, the first accused person told the members of his church and the general public that he was operating a scheme called ‘Lease buy back’ where he would sell plots of land and other landed properties to them, invest the monies in his investment company and later buy same back at higher prices.
The first accused person then started receiving payments from members of his church and the general public from April 2018 under the guise of selling lands and properties to them and later buying them back.
The first accused person asked the complainants to pay various sums of money into different bank accounts, after which the accused persons prepared fictitious documents purportedly covering some lands which they issued to the complainants.
According to the accused persons, the monies realized from the sale of the land were invested in the international money market through Tikowrie Capital Limited, Fine Fort Capital Limited, Top FX and Edge FX.
Investigations revealed that the accused persons represented to the complainants that they would sell plots of land and other landed properties to them, invest the principal sums collected from the complainants in their companies and later buy back the plots of land at higher prices.
As part of the agreement, after the maturity date, they would pay the principal with interest rates between 100 to 480% but after several demands from the complainants, the accused persons have, to date, not paid them.
During the period that the complainants were paying monies into the accounts of the companies of the accused persons, the first accused person deposited and withdrew a huge sum of money from Fine Fort Capital and bought Fromfrom Capital Limited from its owners by 31st August 2018, this was, however, not part of the ‘lease-buy-back’ agreement.
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 financial and investment services without a licence from the authorised entity, which is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
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 in investment/fund management.
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 financial and investment services without a licence from the SEC.
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 in investment/fund management.
In all, about 875 persons invested a total of GHS 23,773,950.00 with the aforementioned companies as follows 784 persons invested a total of GHS 19,288,950.00 with EL Real Estates Limited, 79 persons invested a total of GHS 4,208,500.00 with Tikowrie Capital Limited while twelve (12) invested a total of GHS 275,500 with Fromfrom Capital Limited.
The case has been adjourned to September 5, 2022.