07.07.2004 General News

Winners’ Chapel Is Hot

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IRS Moves On Them The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has notified the Winners' Chapel of its intention to scrutinize the church's accounts, with a view to valuing its assets for tax purposes.

According to the Commissioner of IRS, Mrs Janet Opoku-Acheampong, “recent revelations by certain key officials of Winners' Chapel give an indication that the church is evading tax on its earnings.”

Speaking to the Times in a telephone interview yesterday, July 6, the IRS Commissioner said, “As a matter of fact, Winners' Chapel is currently evading payment of income tax on the salaries and allowances of all its employees.”

She noted that but for the recent revelations about the church by some of its own members, the IRS would not have known that the church was making so much “profit”. After the church's accounts have been examined critically and its assets valued, IRS will be in a better position to know which of its assets to tax,” she stated.

Mrs Opoku-Acheampong said that many other charismatic churches in Ghana were defaulting similarly on their taxes. She said that the IRS was instituting measures to intensify its collection of taxes from churches.

She said the IRS had conferred already with the Christian Council of Ghana and urged it to educate its members on the need for them to honour their tax obligations to the State. The Commissioner stated that “apart from the Catholic Church, which, by law, is exempt from tax”, all churches are liable for tax. Police Investigating Winners Shooting The Police are conducting investigations to determine who fired a gun at Assistant Pastor Abraham Ojeme, a leading member of the Winners' Chapel, at a hotel in Accra on June 23.

Pastor Ojeme, who had led a Nigerian delegation to Ghana, is believed to have been shot at when some Church members “stormed” the hotel, where the delegation was staying.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Kofi Boakye, the Greater Accra Region Commander, told the Times in an interview that following the shooting incident, the police arrested R Adu Gyamfi, a pharmacist and leading member of the church, Dr Adu Gyamfi, in the company of two armed policemen and a fellow church member, had allegedly stormed the hotel to confront the Nigerian delegation.

ACP Boakye said that a preliminary investigation into the shooting revealed that even though he was carrying a firearm, Dr Gyamfi did not fire the shot. Investigations had established further, he said, that the empty shell casing found at the hotel was not of the type fired by the weapon Dr Gyamfi is alleged to have been carrying. He said the police were continuing to work feverishly in their efforts to identify and arrest the real culprit.

ACP Boakye said that Dr Gyamfi had, however, been charged with illegal possession of an unlicensed weapon. In its Friday, June 25 issue, the Times reported that Dr Gyamfi, together with another member of the Winners' Chapel, Omane Frimpong, and two armed policemen had gone to the hotel. In the confrontation that followed, Dr Gyamfi was alleged to have fired a gunshot at Assistance Pastor Ojeme.

Dr Adu Gyamfi, speaking in an interview with the 'Times' said he had no reason to shoot at Dr Ojeme.

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