An Accra High Court has granted an application by Lighthouse Chapel International to amend its defence in a suit brought against the church by six of its former ministers.
In a brief court session last Tuesday, the court also awarded fresh cost of GH¢6,000 against the church for the fresh inconvenience it has caused the legal team of the plaintiffs.
The new amendments had become “necessary”, the church’s new lawyer, Vincent Kizito, said because the earlier ones “did not fully state the defendant’s case.”
The church changed its lawyer after Rodney Heward-Mills, a relative to the founder of the church, announced he had quit.
He left behind GH¢19,000 in cost against the church as, at every turn during his stay, the court punished the church for late filing, delays or applications it lost.
Kizito has signaled a different direction in defending the church, but, like Rodney Heward-Mills, it is coming at a cost.
Kofi Bentil had opposed the amendments, arguing on a point of law, that the right procedure was not followed. In her ruling, the judge directed the church to go ahead and file its defence.
The ruling also means the lawyer for the plaintiffs would have to study the church’s fresh arguments and file a response within seven days as directed by the court.
The new development means since the six former pastors and bishops sued Lighthouse Chapel in April 2020, the court is still yet to hear the merits of the case.
The ‘big six’: Bishop Larry Odonkor, Bishop Emmanuel Oko Mensah, Rev. Edward Laryea, Rev. Seth Duncan, Rev Edem Amankwa and Ps. Faith Fiakojo, sued the church alleging economic exploitation, non-payment of full pension contributions, emotional and psychological abuse. The church has roundly rejected the allegations and has also countersued.
You can reach the writer of this story, Edwin Appiah, via email at [email protected]. You can follow him on @edwinologyLB