The Fourth Estate has seen a rejoinder to myjoyonline.com’s republication of our story ‘Lighthouse loses case against resigned bishop, Larry Odonkor, published on June 21, 2022.
To summarise the story, a court in Madagascar on February 23, 2022, dismissed a civil suit filed against Larry Odonkor who resigned from Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) and was accused of selling his official car and failing to pay the money in the church’s account. Larry Odonkor was not in Madagascar when the car was sold. He was in Ghana.
But Larry Odonkor’s assistant at the time, Rev. Edmund Amartey, has issued a rejoinder to the story which relied on the court decision, the statement of claim filed by the church in Madagascar and background information as narrated by the former LCI bishop.
The substance of the story–that Lighthouse Church International lost the car sale case against Bishop Larry Odonkor–is not in dispute, but the rejoinder explains that even though Larry Odonkor was not in Madagascar when the car was sold, proceeds from the sale were used for benefits as he directed.
We, therefore, reproduce the full rejoinder, unedited, below:
Rev. Edmund Amarkai Amartey is my name. I have been a volunteer/lay missionary here in Madagascar for over 11 years in the Lighthouse Chapel International-Madagascar (LCI). I work as a teacher here. I saw a publication dated 21st June 2022 by Joy Fm and sourced from the Fourth estate in which it was alleged that I sold a Land Cruiser belonging to LCI under mysterious circumstances and that “it is not clear where the money went to”. Reference was made to a lawsuit between LCI-Madagascar and Larry Odonkor in the article. The article contains false, scandalous and defamatory publications about me. Hence this rejoinder.
- I WAS NOT PARTY TO THE SUIT AND MY NAME WAS NOT MENTIONED IN THE JUDGMENT
I would like to state first of all that I was not a party to the suit and my name was not mentioned in the judgment. I also did not represent LCI in the suit .I am also not the head pastor of the church. I therefore feel very scandalized that this publication was made by Joy Fm without verifying the facts from me. The publication that I sold the car and no one knows where the money has gone to is not contained in the judgment. It is totally false, misleading and very defaming and I demand an apology for being scandalized. That my picture was also published in the article is the height of the scandal.
- ALL MONIES FROM THE CAR SALE WENT TO LARRY ODONKOR
I am by this rejoinder setting the records straight and stating that Larry Odonkor told me it was his personal car and not the church’s property. He asked me to sell it and he took all the proceeds of the sale from me. There are several WhatsApp chats between me and Larry Odonkor on his then Madagascar number and his current Ghana number that prove this and I have attached all the chats to this Rejoinder. There are also chats between one LCI pastor named Rev David Quansah and Larry Odonkor on the sale of the car. Again, chats between an administrator of LCI Ghana and Larry Odonkor offer further proof that Larry took all the money from the proceeds of the car sale. The chats are numbered 1 to 22.
- I AM SPEAKING FOR MYSELF AND NOT LCI-MADAGASCAR
Let me first state that by this rejoinder I am speaking for myself specifically in response to the false allegation made against my person in the publication. I am not speaking for LCI. I am informed that LCI Madagascar is about to appeal against the decision of the court.
- LARRY ODONKOR TOLD US THE CAR BELONGED TO HIM
Larry Odonkor told us that the car belonged to him and I had no reason at the time to doubt him. As a lay pastor who is not an employee of the church, I am not privy to certain internal transactions of the church so I did not know that the car was the church’s property. He bought the car on behalf of the church when he was in Madagascsar. In all my chats with him, he described the car as his personal property. (See chat numbers 9)
- Larry Odonkor had made known to all the missionaries that he was going back to Ghana. One day, Larry told me that he would like me to sell his car for him and that he had already spoken to 2 local pastors here in Antananarivo, his neighbours and his mechanic about the sale of his car and he also told them to look for buyers for him.
- I asked him why he was selling the car and he confidently told me that “it is my car”. I also asked him what the new mission head is going to use when he comes to Madagascar. He said and I quote “I would sell it to the new pastor who comes here and the church would pay for it”. All this gave me the impression that it was his car.
- It was time for Larry Odonkor to go to his new mission. On our way to the airport, there were 4 of us in total in the car as he drove to the airport from home because he had already taken his family to the airport. In the car, he asked me if I had my license on me but I told him that I didn’t take it. So another pastor friend drove the car to Larry Odonkor’s former residence and parked the car. He instructed for the car to parked in his former residence till it was sold off. (See chat number 6 )
- LARRY ALSO TOLD OTHER PASTOR NAMED DAVID QUANSAH TO SELL THE CAR FOR HIM
Larry also told Pastor David Quansah who was also a volunteer pastor of LCI Madagascar at the time to sell car for him. David Quansah and I made Facebook publications of the Toyota Land Cruiser under Larry’s instructions to help him sell the car. (See chats numbers 4 to 6 between Rev. David Quansah and Larry.) I did not know that Larry would lie about all this later. Some people came to see it and also one of the local Malagasy pastors Larry spoke to also came to take the car to show to some potential buyers.
- We all used to give updates about the sale of the car to Larry. Potential buyers initially expressed interest in buying the car at 56 million, 60 million and 65 million Ariary but they didn’t have ready cash. There were times that was nothing to update him about but he would ask and get angry because there is no update. (See chats numbers 1 to 8)
- “SELL TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER”
On the 24th February 2020, there were 2 interested buyers who came to look at the car. During the negotiations, I was on WhatsApp with Larry Odonkor telling him about the amount the two potential buyers were offering and he instructed me to “sell it to the highest bidder”. (See chat number 7)
- The car was sold eventually to the highest bidder at 50 million Ariary ( GHC 126,400) who had ready cash on 25th February 2020 under Larry Odonkor’s instructions and the amount was paid in cash and Larry Odonkor was aware of this because I was updating him on whatAspp.(See chats numbers 9 and 10)
- INSTRUCTIONS FROM LARRY ODONKOR ON WHAT TO USE THE CAR MONEY FOR
Upon receiving the money, Larry immediately instructed me to use 30 million Ariary to complete payment for land he was buying here in Madagascar from one Mr. Rija . I did so the same day the car was sold and I sent him the bank pay-in-slips. I paid the 30 million Ariary into the bank account of the owner of the land. Larry Odonkor also instructed me to give a 500,000 Ariary to pay the person who took care of his cows called Hery-ve. Part of the money was also to used for documents on Larry’s cows (See chats numbers 11,12,13,14 and 16). Afterwards, Larry Odonkor instructed me to go to his bank in madagascar and talk to the manager called Nathaniel so the manager assists me to send him the rest of the money into his ABSA account in Accra. (chats number 13 and 14).
- After countless efforts of not being able to send Larry Odonkor the money because of the laws regarding money transfer in Madagascar, Larry found out that a donation was going to be sent from the church in Ghana to help the Madagascar mission pay for the soil test. So Larry slyly contacted the administrator of LCI Ghana in Accra who was supposed to send the donation and told her that he had his money with me in the sum of 19,500,000 Ariary so instead of transferring monies to Madagascar, the money should be given to him in Accra so that I use the rest of the money to pay for the soil test. The administrator agreed and paid $ 5,237 into Larry’s personal account ABSA account in Ghana. I then used the remaining 19,500,000 Ariary to pay for the soil test. (See chats numbers 17 to 22 between Larry and the administrator in Ghana).
- SUMMARY OF BREAKDOWN OF HOW THE LAND CRUISER MONEY WAS USED
This is how the proceeds from the car sale (50 million Ariary ) was used under Larry Odonkor’s instructions:
- Payment for Larry Odonkor’s land in Madagascar – 30,000,000 Ariary. (chat numbers 11 to 14).
- Payment for salary of caretaker of Larry Odonkor’s cows and documentation on Larry’s cows in Madagascar – 500,000 Ariary ( chat number 16 ).
- Larry slyly took $ 5,237 from the church in Accra and I used the remaining money (19,500,000 Ariary) to pay for the soil test since Larry had taken $5,237 from the church in Accra – (chat numbers 17 to 22 )
- DON’T GIVE EVEN 1 ARIARY TO THE CHURCH – LARRY
Larry told me specifically not to even take 1 Ariary from the car sale to give to the church. ( See chat number 1. Also I did not use even 1 Cent of the proceeds of the car sale for myself. Everything went to Larry Odonkor. It is therefore malicious for Larry Odonkor to cause publications to be made that “Edmund Amartey sold the car …. It is not clear where he deposited the money” when he knows he took all the monies from the car sale.
- MY CHALLENGE TO LARRY ODONKOR
I challenge Larry Odonkor to come out and say all these chats here are not between myself, Rev David Quansah and the Administrator on one side , and him on the other side on his then Madagascar number and his current Ghana number. I challenge him to explain how he completed payment of his land in Madagascar. I challenge Larry Odonkor to explain how his 19,500,000 Ariary came into my hands within just one month after he left Madagascar. I challenge him to explain on what basis the church in Accra paid the $ 5,237 into his personal account at ABSA. It should be noted that I sold the car on 25th February 2020 and paid for the land on the same day. (See chats number 9 to 14). Then it was on 27th February 2020 (just 2 days later) that Larry contacted the Administrator in Accra that I had his money with me. Which money could it have been apart from the proceeds from the car sale?
17. MY DISAPPOINTMENT IN MEDIA HOUSES
I will conclude by expressing my disappointment in the media houses that published this article from the Fourth Estate without verifying the facts from me. It is very unfortunate that my name and picture are making rounds on social media about such a highly scandalous matter and no effort was made to cross-check the facts from me.
Let me end with a quote from William Shakespeare which is an admonition to all media houses:
“The purest treasure mortal times afford
Is spotless reputation; that away
Men are but gilded loam or painted clay…
Mine honor is my life; both grow in one;
Take honor from me, and my life is done.”
RICHARD II – Act 1 Scene 1
REV. EDMUND AMARKAI AMARTEY
LIGHTHOUSE CHAPEL INTERNATIONAL– MADAGASCAR