Pastor jailed for fraud

Ms Gloria Akuffo,Minister of Justice and Attorney General

Ms Gloria Akuffo,Minister of Justice and Attorney General

The Accra Circuit Court yesterday sentenced a 48-year-old pastor to 24 months imprisonment for fraud and trespassing on land.

The court, also slapped GH¢30,000 fine as compensation, and awarded GH¢475.00 against the convict.

Pastor Joshua Okpoti Sowah, who is the head of International Faith Ministry, at Oyarifa, Accra, pleaded not guilty to a charge of trespass and fraudulent transaction.

The prosecutor, Chief Inspector of Police Francis A. Tassan, told the court, presided over by Mr. M E Essandoh,  that the convict sold two plots of land, belonging to Patrick Kuntor, to Mrs. Beatrice Nkansah, at GH¢80,000.

The court heard that the convict did not have any document to the land, but apportioned it to Mrs. Nkansah.

Chief Insp Tassan said a search conducted by the police at the Lands Commission, on June 5, 2016, indicated that Mr. Kuntor owns the land, at Oyarifa, which complainant bought and registered it with the commission.

The prosecutor added that Mr. Kuntor travelled outside Ghana, but on his return in May 2016, he found that the land had been trespassed.

Based on that, Chief Inspector Francis said the complainant made a report to the police and he (complainant) and Mrs. Nkansah were invited.

Mrs. Nkansah mentioned Pastor Joshua as the one who sold the land to her, and summons were served on the convict, but he failed to show up at court, citing ill-health as an excuse.

The judge noted that the Court of Appeal and the High Court had given judgement on the same case against the convict, and could not challenge the decision of the superior courts.

He said the convict gave contradictory evidence, and explained that an evidence given on oath that contradicts an earlier evidence was not worthy of credit.

Meanwhile, lawyer for the convict, Mr. Samuel Ofori, pleaded to the court to change the non-custodial sentence to a fin, because Pastor Joshua was a first time offender, a family man and attended proceedings.

By Malik Sullemana & Eunice Cofie

 

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