It has been 23 months since Bishop Oko Mensah resigned from the Lighthouse Chapel International. He resigned in October 2019 after nearly 15 years of service.
It has also been five months since he sued the church in April 2021, alleging emotional, psychological abuse and economic exploitation.
But two months after suing the Lighthouse Chapel, the church also filed a criminal complaint against him at the Auto-Theft Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service for stealing his official car, a Hyundai Elantra with registration, GN8591-12.
The car was procured for his official use in 2012, and he used it until he resigned in 2019. In its complaint to the police, Lighthouse Chapel International valued the nine-year-old car at $20,000.
On Wednesday, September 22, 2021, Emmanuel Oko Mensah stood up before an Accra circuit court judge, Evelyn Asamoah, and pleaded not guilty to the charge of stealing his official car.
The prosecutor, Chief Inspector Simon Apiosornu, said Emmanuel Oko Mensah “failed to hand over” the vehicle after he resigned. It was Lighthouse Church’s Human Resource Director, Rebecca Edith Addae, who reported the matter to the police on June 11, 2021.
In an application for a self-recognisance bail after Oko Mensah pleaded not guilty, Kofi Bentil, who is the lawyer for the accused, explained that his client had a case against the church. That case was being heard in a building adjacent to the court and, therefore, had no motivation to abscond from the jurisdiction.
To buttress his request for the self-recognisance bail, Kofi Bentil explained that after the complaint was first filed at the police, his client fully submitted himself to the police and fully cooperated with investigations.
“He was given a self-recognisance bail [by the police] which he never violated,” Bentil said. He added that as a reverend minister, his client also had a church to administer and would not “do anything to jeopardise his freedom.”
The lawyer’s plea for self-recognisance did not move the judge.
She set bail at GHc150,000 with two sureties. She also adjourned the case to October 12, 2021.
Controversy over the “stolen” car
Emmanuel Oko Mensah is one of the six former Lighthouse pastors who resigned and have sued the church. On the charge of stealing, he has maintained his innocence. He said after he resigned from the church, he parked the car at the La Bawaleshie branch of Lighthouse Chapel International in Accra.
He said that branch of Lighthouse Chapel is situated on a property given to the church by his father.
Oko Mensah’s father, though not a member of Lighthouse Chapel International, said it was his contribution to the evangelistic goals of LCI where his son, a trained engineer, had dedicated his life to serving, in full-time ministry.
The property, two bungalows, was given to the church to use as a place of worship free of charge – since 2008. The church continued to use the premise even after Oko Mensah resigned in 2019. But it relocated to a bigger location after Covid-19 broke out in 2020.
Bishop Oko Mensah said when he resigned and parked the car at the La-Bawaleshie branch of the church, on his parent’s property, he could not be said to have stolen the car which was in the full view of members of the church.
The former bishop of the church also told the police in his caution statement that even if he took the car home, it was in line with a documented church policy that allowed former employees, such as sacked workers, to take their official cars home once they left the church.
Kofi Bentil explained that “commonsense” dictates that once the church wanted its property back it should directly ask Oko Mensah to return it. If he failed to return the car, it could report Oko Mensah to the police for stealing.
But Lighthouse Chapel International went directly to the police to complain that its Hyundai Elantra had been stolen nearly two years ago.
After the church filed the complaint against its former employee, Emmanuel Oko Mensah returned the car on June 24, 2021, to the police headquarters.
“The car was never missing, never stolen, never in controversy,” the lawyer insisted.
He laughed off the church’s claim at the seven-year-old saloon car could be valued at $20,000 (GHC80,000).
The lawyer said this charge of stealing pushed by the church is part of many acts of revenge, and intimidation against the six former employees since they sued the church in April.
He said Emmanuel Oko Mensah was not the only target of harassment by the church.
Lighthouse Chapel International also tried to file a complaint against Larry Odonkor, accusing him of selling his official vehicle while in Madagascar. But it turned out he had not sold any car.
Against, Rev. Edem Amankwa, LCI filed a complaint at the police alleging he had pocketed GHc38,000 from the sale of Bishop Dag Heward-Mills’ books, even though he had submitted an account of the sale of the books to the church before he resigned years ago.
Against Faith Fiakojo, the church has accused him of stealing a church building in Fumbisi.
“Without any grounds, the police have persisted in harassment,” Kofi Bentil put together what he said was a pattern of harassment.
God is watching.
Evil people mascarading masquerading as pastors.
That man has Hitler and Sterling tendencies. He is not a pastor. Vindictiveness at its peak.
Dragging the name of the church in the mud.
LCI can forgo some of those issues and focus on the substantive matter
It amazes me that it is okay in this to lie, insult and drag to court a man of God of integrity. But it’s not okay for his children to rise up and speak!!
Insult all U want! We shall also reply!
What is your doctorate degree in? It amazes me too that with even higher education, people still believe in the god concept. How do you, an African, think some Jewish boy came to die for you and is coming back to take you to some place in the skies?
according to this report, the car is currently with the Police and the church never asked him directly to return it. so why is the matter in court ?
Forken church, no wonder a lot of people are leaving the church. Politicians does this propaganda stuffs not a church. How they even bought their land in mampong should be investigated. The church is rather a thief.
It’s obvious backsliden Christians such as you together with those so called pastors are the ones leaving the church because the church is not ready to accept your sinful ways which you have refused to repent from.
We can’t so soon forget how the teachings and books by the Prophet have made some of us better Christians.
Fourthestate, was omari’s comment subjected to modernisation as well. What’s the agenda???
May God have mercy on you @ Omari
There is a difference between “retire” and “resign”, so please come back again with a totally different defense. I laugh enter Korle Gonno 🤣🤣🤣
They can’t tell the difference oooo hahaha
Dear friend, to resign is not a negative thing but an accepted, official way of quiting or retiring early. It even warrants more credence than being laid off, especially after 15 years of service and 7 years of using and servicing this said vehicle. So kindly do the math. Its not that hard to do. (Smiles)
Besides, if the church thought otherwise (probably due to their current case in court, which could be considered as a form of harassment), they could just have simply asked for it to be returned. The interesting part of all this is the Ghana police who claim to have investigated this enough to send this to court! Amazing! I guess this happened before Dampare took over as head. (Extra smiles)
Obviously Bernie you have not really put your thoughts together well. The car was asked for in case you don’t know.
You don’t take or keep what is not yours.
You take or keep what is giving to you.
The proper way to resign is to give a minimum of a months notice so that documentation will be put in order to ensure what is due you is paid to you.
Did Oko Mensah do such???
Your analysis is so apt……such a joke of a church.
You have issues with English language. It says ALL LAID OFF EMPLOYEES, should retire(go home)
What car are we talking about??? Did Oko Mensah not say he had not been given any car (or accommodation)? Is that not why he sued the church??? And how come he claims he parked the car when he was riding it in Accra?? Ebei!! Liars always contradict themselves!
All laid off employees should retire with the car. Oko mensah wasn’t laid off , he resigned so he cannot retire with the car as his personal property. Packing the car at a location of your choice, saying it is a place owned by the church doesn’t mean you had returned the car. If your father has blessed the church with a place, we should ignore you when you are misbehaving.
Aaah so this fourthestate or zeroestate(a better name for them) are not smart kuraaa.
Your write-up says opana resigned yet you quote a policy document which specifically refers to laid off employees.
And oko mensah also wants anyone reading this story to accept that he parking the car on a premises of the church to the full view of everyone means that he has handed over the car??? Oh pleeease oko.
What you people are doing is no longer funny. These things don’t add up.
SOME HIGH FEVER IS AT WORK HERE OO.
PLEASE WATCH IT
When you have interest in a side, you’re clouded by your judgement. Was the car given to him at the Bawaleshie Church? Did he send his resignation to the Bawaleshie Church? When he was looking for his SSNIT, did he go to the Bawaleshie Church?
So Bishop Dag cannot settle this matter as a father but keep dragging and escalating, am even surprised. How can this be, that a church cannot settle this amicably but rather be confrontational. How?
I think the church has failed Jesus Christ in big way.Why should the continued defending herself instead of asking the court for out of court settlement.
A clear indication that you were loved 😍, very much and appreciated while you were there, else why would your biological father, a non member, freely and willingly donate his land (accra land) to the church, definitely he was happy for you and what you were doing and where you were. Why now turn around and spread stories and falsehood about how u were mistreated. Is this Good. 🤔
Kwame, you are confusing me now….Did you read the constitution of the church attached?
Bishop Dung dey bleed papa. It is laughable that he thinks the car can be valued at $20,000 after all the miles and years of depreciation 🤣🤣
Dag is a monster! He’s built a CULT and the world sees now how unchristian the foundations have been. How can you call them thieves now? Such a shame!! Those in lighthouse please LEAVE THAT CULT NOW
This whole business is getting really embarrassing and seriously damaging Christ’s purchased possession. It is a really grievous matter and very upsetting to all who love the Lord . I am begging all concerned to please call a truce, I am begging Bishop Dag Heward -Mills, a very highly respectable Man of God to please take the lead in calling a truce and settle this matter amicably. Every child of God loves both Bishop and the pastors who feel offended. We the friends of Christ love you all, please come to the peace table in the love of Christ. Amen