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Drama is unfolding in the case involving the six aggrieved pastors of the Light House Chapel International (LCI) days after their lawyer mounted a spirited defense against the alleged $12 million settlement demand on the church.
In the latest twist to the circus, it is emerging that part of the said controversial amount is set to be used as legal fees for Kofi Bentil, Vice President of Imani Ghana and lawyer for the 6 Ex– Pastors.
Deep throat sources insist that the Imani Lawyer was allegedly hoping to reap millions from his clients -the six pastors – if they could get the 12 million dollars they demanded from the church.
“It has also emerged that Mr. Bentil (although he now denies the $12 Million demand) actually calculated this figure for his clients and personally communicated same,” It claimed.
Mr. Bentil had in a statement on Friday flatly denied the supposed demand of the said amount by his clients.
According to him, the figure is a figment of the imagination of the defendant, Lighthouse Chapel.
Myjoyonline, in an August 20, 2021 interview quoted Mr. Bentil as saying that the only claim his clients have made is for the reimbursement of all funds owed them by the church and nothing more unless otherwise decided by the Court.
“We have categorically denied it in a statement that we put out. We have not made such a request of them,” he emphasised.
But some witnesses described as “The Eminent Clergymen” are said to have been present in the meeting where the said $12M settlement request was made by the six pastors.
The men of God are: Bishops Anyani Boadum of Jesus Generation Ministries, Tackie Yarboi of Victory Bible Church and Gideon Titi-Offei of Pleasant Places Church.
According to Rev. Kwesi Dei of the LCI Rt. Rev Dr. Anyani Boadum personally delivered this message of the $ 12 million demand to the church leadership as part of the settlement discussion and added that they also learnt that Kofi Bentil was hoping to reap $ 1.57 million dollars from this deal.
It seems BENTIL the one who constantly calls people “predatory elite” is the one here allegedly hunting for a big breakthrough in legal fees of $1.57 million dollars.
According to Rev. Kwesi Dei of LCI, the $ 12 Million was calculated and explained by Kofi Bentil to the 3 Eminent Clergymen in a meeting in which all 6 renegade pastors were present.
The Clergymen were dumbfounded by the demand and asked them whether they really wanted them to deliver such a message to the LCI. Bentil and plaintiffs were reportedly adamant and insisted that is their demand and did not budge. The 3 men of God left the meeting disappointed and dismayed.
Contradictory Denial In Court by Kofi Bentil
It is to be recalled that on 3rd August 2021 when the $ 12 Million bombshell was dropped by Rodney Heward-Mills, counsel for LCI, Kofi Bentil spoke from 2 sides of his mouth.
He first denied his clients ever demanded that amount and then added that even if they did it does not matter.
Why Can’t Bentil Tell The Public What Transpired?
Kofi Bentil claims there were “weeks of settlement talks” but is unable to give details of the talks. The devil is indeed in the detail.
He and his clients have only come out to deny the demand for $12 Million but have not told the world what demands they made and what transpired during the “weeks of settlement talks”
Displaying the content of Clients’ Reliefs on Social Media
Kofi Bentil and his clients have displayed the reliefs sought by his clients on social media and said there is no $12 million mentioned in the writs and that LCI cooked up that $12 Million figure.
LCI’s response to that is that the church never said the $12 million figure is in their writs. The figure came up during settlement talks and popped up in court when the judge asked for feedback from the parties on settlement since he had earlier recommended that the matter, if possibly, be settled out of court.
It is therefore a disingenuous, mischievous and not too smart a campaign of misinformation for the plaintiffs to display the writs on social media and say “see .. see.. look at ….look at… there is no $12 Million in our writs”. That is a very infantile attempt at misinformation and propaganda knowing that the narrative is that the demand was made during settlement and not in their writs.
A Blackmail Suit
The LCI has observed that this suit has all the characteristic of a blackmail suit. Kofi Bentil and his clients embarked on a mission to sue the church, bastardize the church on social media, browbeat the such into submission and extort outrageous sums of money from the church knowing that the LCI has a policy of not engaging in media banters and would ordinarily not want to fight in court; much so with former pastors of the church.
And true to their prediction, the LCI has been silent on the matter since last April when it came out. Now it is looking like Kofi Bentil and his clients have pushed the church to the limits and have compelled LCI to come out to speak.
LCI’S Call To Kofi Bentil before Writs Were Issued
The Church says it is a blackmail suit because before the plaintiffs issued the writ, the church heard about the grievances of the plaintiffs and was told that Kofi Bentil is their lawyer.
LCI therefore instructed their lawyers to speak to Kofi Bentil to know the grievances of the plaintiffs. The lawyer for LCI called Kofi Bentil on 15th March 2021.
During the conversation the lawyer from LCI told Kofi Bentil to write formally to the church on all the grievances of his clients as is standard practice for lawyers in such matters so that he presents it to the LCI after which a meeting can be held, but Kofi Bentil reportedly said categorically that he will not write to LCI.
Kofi Bentil rather allegedly issued threats that LCI needs to settle this matter or else if it hits the media “it will be electrifying.”.
While the conversation was on-going, Kofi Bentil told the LCI lawyer he is being distracted by some noise around him so he would call back in 30 minutes. The LCI lawyer waited the whole day but Kofi Bentil did not return the call.
The following day which was the 16th of March 2021 LCI instructed its lawyer to send Kofi Bentil a text to ask him to contact him since LCI did not hear from him the day before. The lawyer sent the text which was delivered to Kofi Bentil’s phone on Tuesday 16th March 2021. Our reporter has seen the text and it read as follows:
“Good morning Mr. Bentil . I trust you are well .This is Counsel for Lighthouse. We didn’t finish talking yesterday. You said you were going to get back to me in 30 minutes but I didn’t hear from you. You can call anytime today when you are free. Thanks. Nice day.”
Kofi Bentil never got back to the LCI. The next time the LCI heard from Kofi Bentil was the 6 writs issued by him on behalf of the 6 ex pastors and served on LCI on 23rd April.
It is to be noted that even though the writs were filed on Monday 19th April 2021 it was not until Friday 23rd April 2021 that LCI was served with them.
Before LCI received the writs, social media was already awash with defamatory publications in an article titled “Darkness in A Lighthouse“ and the article made copious reference to the writs concerning LCI, even though LCI had not been served with them.
The ex-pastors have continued with their vile campaign and disparaging assault on the church on social media even though the matter is in court, all in the bid to hammer LCI into settlement talks and extort money from the church with intimidation and blackmail.
Kofi Bentil and his clients were not interested in settlement talks from Day 1. Or else why will Kofi Bentil flatly refuse to follow standard legal practice in matters such this to simply write to LCI as requested for talks to begin ? Why did he refuse to call back the LCI lawyer ? Why did he refuse to reply the text from the LCI lawyer to call him the following day to contact him ?
LCI states that the $ 12 million demand from the Ex-Pastors is factual. Kofi Bentil did that calculation and explained same to the 3 Eminent men of God who tried to broker peace. This calculation included his legal fees of $1.57 million. The figure was so outrageous that the Senior Clergymen abandoned any hope of settling this matter amicably.
The 6 Ex-Pastors have sued the LCI for among other things the alleged non-payment of their SSNIT contributions.
The six pastors are Bishop Larry Odonkor, Bishop Oko Mensah, Rev. Edward Laryea, Pastor Seth Duncan, Pastor Edem Amankwah and Pastor Faith Makafui Fiakojo.
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