A Ghanaian pastor and his accomplice have been sentenced to eight years each for failing to refund an investment worth over $2 million to more than 100 people.
The court presided over by Evelyn Asamoah, convicted Rev. Edward Buabeng, Head Pastor of the Liberty Vineyard International Ministries at Dansoman in Accra, and his accomplice, Aubrey des-Bordes Mends, on multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit crime and defrauding by false pretense.
The court acquitted and discharged Wilfred Brown, an accountant, who had been charged alongside the two.
Rev. Buabeng and his accomplice both pleaded not guilty to the charges but were found guilty by the court after a full trial.
According to graphic.com.gh The facts of the case as presented in court by the prosecution were that the complainant, John Osei-Safo Kumi, and his wife, Brenda Adolphine Appia, who reside in Dansoman in Accra, invested $7,000 and $6,000, respectively in cash in July 2018 at the Career Link Markets Company Limited in Dansoman, owned by Rev. Buabeng and Mr. Mends for a three-month period, with a 40 percent interest per month.
The investment matured at the end of October 2018, but the company failed to refund both the principal and the interest to the complainant and his wife.
“Several efforts made to retrieve the monies proved futile, and the pastor went into hiding. A formal complaint was lodged at the Dansoman Police Station. Subsequently, more customers numbering over 100 who also invested various sums of money amounting to GH¢1,193.136 and $185,408 with the company came to lodge similar complaints against the two persons,” the prosecution said.
The prosecution said Rev. Buabeng and Mr. Mends were later arrested and detained for investigation, and they admitted to the offense in their caution statements, stating that they had enough funds to refund their customers but failed to honor their promises.
Investigations by the police further revealed that even though the company was registered at the Registrar General’s Department, it was not given a license by the Security and Exchange Commission to operate such a business, the prosecution stressed.
The police again, during the investigation, was able to retrieve GH¢115,000 from the two, which was disbursed to the first two complainants and six others.