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24.02.2007 General News

"Man of God" Defrauds Hundreds in VR

By chronicle

A SELF-STYLED MINISTER of the Gospel and the Director of a fake Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Literacy Drive and Development Movement (LDDM), the Rev. Simon Fred Yevugah is in the grips of the Police after years of alleged fraudulent activities in the Volta Region.

The man of God allegedly defrauded people in the Ho Municipality under the pretext of offering them permanent employment.

The Chronicle investigations conducted in the Volta Region revealed that the Pastor has been on the wanted list of the Ho District Police Command for his alleged criminal activities for some time now.

His activities did not only end in the Ho Municipality but also extended to Hohoe, Jasikan and Kadjebi Districts where he was later arrested and detained by the Police and subsequently transferred to Ho at the request of the Ho District Police Command.

The NGO was said to have started operations in the Region in July 2006 to help orphans and street children as well as provide soft micro credit to petty traders and peasant farmers.

Some of the ex-workers of the NGO who spoke to The Chronicle said after issuing them with fake employment letters, they were placed under various departments such as evangelism, projects, geographical research, women and environment among others.

They said the management of the fake organization also tasked them to form smaller associations to be called LDDM groups and each of these smaller groups should not have members less than 25 and more than 50. This, management explained, was to win the confidence of donors.

The workers further disclosed that Yevugah directed that each member of these smaller groups pay an amount of one hundred thousand cedis as a commitment fee, preparation of ID cards and to seek the services of specialists to educate them on business management.

Having understood their roles, the 22 staff were able to form 16 smaller groups with 577 paid up registered members. These members were asked to open individual bank accounts to enable the LDDM Management pay their salaries into them.

The aggrieved ex-workers said the mastery tactics of this man did not end with the ordinary citizen but extended to accredited Men of God in the Region.

The self styled Pastor also organized a regional pastors' conference which some Pastors from Hohoe, Kwamekrom, Shia, Akatsi and Ho attended.

The management of the said NGO run out of luck somewhere last year when the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the Region got to know about their activities and stopped them from operation. Yevugah then wrote a letter to the staff, which read, "By this letter I write to inform you that due to some problems we encounter as management, SFO has stopped us from operating and you are all directed to stay at home. Please stay blessed".

According to them the Pastor's conference served as a preparatory stage where he educated the Men of God about the objectives of the NGO adding that Yevugah later wrote letters to all the Pastors who attended the conference, directing them to advise their members to register under the smaller groups which led to increase in membership of the NGO.

Some of the ex-workers said that since they were employed six months ago, Yevugah had never paid them but rather borrowed various sums of money from them with the assurance that donors would send monies for their salaries.

The workers revealed that Yevugah advised them to register the smaller groups as Community Based Organizations (CBOS) to enable them to access loans from the District Assemblies and numerous credit facilities in the Region, which did not materialize because the Director was not willing to spearhead the registration of the groups as CBOs.