An Adentan Circuit Court has handed down a total jail term of 11 years to an evangelist and a prophetess for stealing GH¢265,000 from a retired lecturer's account. Samuel Kwesi Tsogbe, a 33-year-old evangelist, received a six-year sentence, while Esther Christ, a 63-year-old prophetess, was sentenced to five years.
The self-ordained pastors of Cornerstone Ministry International pleaded guilty to the charge of stealing. The court heard that Tsogbe and Esther had travelled from Kpando to Accra to offer prayers to the bedridden lecturer.
However, during their stay, they siphoned money from his account and transferred it to another bank account.
Additionally, they falsely accused the victim's housekeeper of causing his predicament and sent her away. Police investigations revealed that the accused had purchased a tipper truck, and a Hyundai Might 2 vehicle, and rented a shop in the Oti Region.
During the court proceedings, Tsogbe expressed remorse and asked for forgiveness, stating that he had learned his lesson. Esther, on the other hand, claimed to be a foreigner who came to Ghana through another prophet and apologized for her actions.
The court presided over by Mrs Sedinam Awo Balokah, convicted the accused based on their own pleas. Describing their conduct as “unpalatable,” the court expressed displeasure with the exploitation of vulnerable individuals through spirituality and imposed a deterrent sentence.
It also ordered the seizure of the items purchased by the accused and froze Tsogbe's account, preventing any further withdrawals.
Chief Inspector Maxwell Lanyo led the prosecution, and he explained that the complainant was the victim's niece, residing in Kpando. The accused individuals, self-ordained pastors of Cornerstone Ministry International, also resided in Kpando.
In 2022, they convinced the complainant to send them to pray for her uncle, claiming to have a revelation about his predicament. Subsequently, they occupied the victim's home and dismissed his housekeeper, replacing her with a new house help from Kpando.
Tsogbe and Esther stayed with the victim for five months and, on May 4, 2022, accompanied him to NIB bank to withdraw GH¢200,000 from his account.
They also stole his National Investment Bank (NIB) ATM card and chequebook. From September 22, 2022, to June 2, 2023, they transferred money from the victim's NIB account to Tsogbe's account.
When the complainant visited in June 2023 and discovered the missing ATM card and chequebook, she reported the matter to the police.
Upon their arrest, the accused admitted to stealing the victim's ATM card and chequebook, which were subsequently retrieved from them.