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07.01.2007 General News

Pastor Steals Musician’s Money

By spectator
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The Sunyani Head Pastor of Majesty Worship Centre, Pastor Charles Kwabena Owusu, has been arrested for allegedly forging the signature of a gospel musician, Mercy Sarfo Hammond and withdrawing millions of cedis from her account at a rural bank in Sunyani.

His church has also suspended him when he returned ¢3.4 million of the stolen money.

Pastor Owusu, 36, was arrested following a report the musician made to the police that she suspected the pastor who had been making payments into her account at the bank.

Mercy Sarfo Hammond said she suspected the pastor because a cheque she gave to a woman to cash bounced even though she knew she had more than ¢1.9 million in the account and believed the allegations that the pastor had withdrawn money from the account on a number of occasions.

The Municipal Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Christian Yohonu confirming the story said the pastor claimed he withdrew only ¢3.4 million which he refunded through the police to the musician.

He, however, said the pastor was arrested but is on an enquiry bail to determine the exact amount of money he had withdrawn since the musician claimed the money at the bank was more than what the pastor refunded.

Briefing The Spectator in an interview, Mercy, as she is popularly called, said she had known Owusu for the past six years, at a time when she was a timber merchant.

According to her, the pastor was her bush manager who used to send her money to the rural bank in Sunyani and said she stopped the timber business and entered the music industry and trading in 2005.

The pastor, she said, had been coming to her store at the market and "I have been giving him money to lodge at the bank for me."

"Unknown to me, Pastor Owusu had access to my cheque book and had been forging my signature to cash money", she claimed and indicated that the staff at the rural bank were familiar with him because of her.

In October 2006, she said she bought some goods from a woman to whom she issued a cheque for ¢1.9 million.

But when the woman went to the bank it emerged that she had no money, and she was convinced that for about eight months she had not withdrawn any money to warrant such a situation and so she went to the bank to verify.

There, she was shocked to learn that Pastor Owusu had been cashing cheques in her name.

A report was made to the police who arrested the pastor and placed him in custody.

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