In their first appearance before the Accra High Court, a pastor and his wife who are accused of defrauding 875 people of GH$23. 7 million have been granted bail with sureties. Both Sabina Elson Godson and Pastor Kelvin Elson Godson, also known as Kelvin Kwasi Kobiri, have entered not guilty pleas to all 40 counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud by false pretenses, and money laundering. The sureties are required to provide proof of a landed property as part of the GH 23 million bail requirement, and one of them must leave a valid identification card and their passports with the court registry.
The two suspects are required to appear once a month at Ghana Police Service headquarters in Accra to the Economic Crime Unit of the Criminal and Investigations Department (CID). While the majority of the complainants were members of the church, Assistant State Attorney Dorm Esi Fiadzo, prosecuting, informed the High Court presided over by Mary Nyanzuh that Pastor Kelvin Elson Godson was the founder and General Overseer of the Zoe Outreach Embassy with branches in Accra and Tarkwa in the Western Region, respectively. The prosecution alleges that Godson and his wife, Sabina, are co-owners of two businesses, EL Real Estate Limited and Fromfrom Capital Limited.
According to Ms. Fiadzo, in 2018 Pastor Godson claimed to be running a program known as “Lease buy back” to members of his church and the wider public. According to her, the plan called for selling clients land plots and other landed properties in exchange for investments in his investment business and a later purchase of the land at a higher price. According to the prosecution, the pastor began receiving payments for the project in April 2018 from both churchgoers and the wider public. According to Ms. Fiadzo, Pastor Godson instructed the complainants to deposit different amounts of cash into various bank accounts. Then, the accused prepared fictitious documents that appeared to cover land plots and gave them to the complainants.
Prosecution told the court that the couple stated that the monies realised from the sale of land was invested in the international money market through Tikowrie Capital Limited, Fine Fort Capital Limited, Top FX and Edge FX. An investigation was requested by the National Security Coordinator in a letter dated April 18, 2019, to the Director General of CID to conduct investigations into the activities of the EL Real Estate Limited in relation to payments of dividends to their customers who had made investments with them.
Ms Fiadzo said the probe revealed that aside the promise by accused to the complainants that they would buy back the plots of land with the principal sum at higher prices, they were also expected to enjoy interest rates of between 100 and 480 percent after the maturity date. However, several attempts by the complainants to get the accused to honour their part of the agreement after the maturity date, proved futile.