Details are emerging about the reason why the controversial pastor, Daniel Obinim, founder of the International God’s Way Church (IGWC), was hauled before the Kaneshie Magistrate Court in Accra.
According to documents filed in court by the police, Obinim allegedly forged and published a Police Persons Wanted Form against a man in Kumasi without official endorsement.
The said wanted person form bearing the details of the supposed fugitive called Isaac Opoku, according to court documents, was circulated on social media platform of certain individuals who are linked to Obinim.
The alleged forgery of police documents by the controversial ‘Man of God’ resulted from some GH¢51,280 he reportedly deposited in Mr Opoku’s bank account.
According to court documents, Bishop Obinim transferred GH¢49,160 out of the amount into his Kaizer Bank account in Spain, but it was later returned into Mr Opoku’s bank account in Ghana.
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Mr Opoku then spent the money, claiming he did so because of a promise Obinim made to him in front of his congregation to buy him a car.
It was the back and forth that followed efforts by Obinim to retrieve the money that led to the alleged forgery of police document.
Obinim is facing two charges of publication of false news, as well as forgery of a document, contrary to Sections 208 and 159 of the Criminal and other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
He has since pleaded not guilty before a Kaneshie District Court, Accra, presided over by Magistrate Rosemond Agyiri and is currently on a GH¢100,000 bail with three sureties, one to be justified with a title deed.
The prosecution, led by ASP Sylvester Asare in May, had opposed the grant of bail, but Ralph Poku Edusei, who was the initial counsel for Obinim, pushed for the court to grant their request for bail.
When the case was called yesterday, Obinim who was neatly dressed in a beautiful leaf green suit and wearing his face mask was present in court.
He was in the company of some of his church members who were all not allowed into the courtroom except him due to the Covid-19 protocols put in place by the Judicial Service.
He had come to court in his sleek brown Range Rover.
During the proceedings, Dela Blagogee, who is the new counsel for Obinim, demanded that the prosecution should furnish the defence team with the documents they intend to rely on for the trial to enable them to prepare adequately.
According to him, it has been some time since the charges were levelled against his client but said that beyond the charge sheet and fact sheet, the prosecution had not been able to supply them with any document they intended to use for the trial.
He said Obinim was innocent of the charges levelled against him and described the charge as “frivolous” and “vexatious”.
The case took another long adjournment after the prosecution asked the court for a month to enable them to prepare well.
The prosecution on June 1, 2020 had asked the court to give them time to conclude their investigations into the matter, but during the proceedings yesterday, it was clear that they were still not ready to commence full trial.
The prosecution had told the court that they were “far advanced” with their investigations into the matter and had prayed the court to adjourn the case to give them more time to put final touches to the work done so far.
The case was subsequently adjourned to July 20, 2020 but appearing before the court yesterday, Inspector Lawrence Kofi Anane, who held the brief of ASP Sylvester Asare, prayed for another adjournment.
He told the court that his senior was in another court and prayed that the court grant them another month of adjournment.
Dela Blagogee did not oppose the request for adjournment but stated that the prosecution must endeavour to furnish them with the trial documents by the next sitting.
The case was subsequently adjourned to September 9, 2020.
According to the fact filed before the court, Bishop Daniel Obinim on November 14, 2019 deposited an amount of GH¢51,280 into the Fidelity bank account of Mr. Opoku and subsequently transferred GH¢49,160 out of the money to his Kaizer bank account in Spain.
It said the GH¢49,160 was returned into Mr. Opoku’s account in Ghana, which he withdrew for his personal use based on a promise Bishop Obinim allegedly made to him in front of his congregation to buy him a car.
Bishop Obinim, according to the fact, demanded a refund of the money, but the complainant refused to pay back and the accused allegedly sent an audio via WhatsApp threatening to declare the complainant wanted by the police the next day if he did not return the money by close of day.
The brief fact said Mr. Opoku later saw a publication on the Facebook walls of followers of Bishop Obinim declaring him wanted.
The said false publication is said to have contained the phone number of a police officer who allegedly serves as body guard for Obinim.
The police officer, according to the facts, denied any knowledge of the content of the false publication although he admitted the phone number was his.
The facts sheet revealed further that Obinim denied publishing Mr. Opoku as wanted by the police but admitted knowing the owners of the various Facebook accounts to be members of the Kumasi branch of his church.
He was later picked by the police pursuant to a warrant of arrest and dragged before the court.
Obinim was in police custody for about three nights after he was arrested and charged, before he was later able to extricate the bail bond.
Obinim was arrested after a brutal media war ensued between him and the Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, who has launched a crusade to expose fake pastors, claiming Obinim is one of them.
When the issue started, Mr. Agyapong confirmed that he personally reported the pastor to the Inspector General of Police for offences including fraud, money laundering and misuse of the police logo to harass some of the boys he has been having criminal deals with.