By Ivy Benson
The Presiding Bishop of the Vineyard International Ministry, Bishop Vaglas Kanco, who was recently convicted for defrauding a British woman of an amount of £120,000, is appealing against the sentence handed him by an Accra Circuit Court.
Bishop Kanco, through his counsel, Mr. Kissi Agyebeng, has filed a motion before an Accra Fast Track Court (FTC) seeking bail, pending his appeal.
However, the State Attorney has vehemently opposed the application, as he challenged the form in which the application was made before the court, noting among other things that the motion was without the judgement of the Circuit Court.
In defense, Mr. Agyebeng blamed the Registrar of the Circuit Court for not making the judgement available to his client.
The court, presided over by Justice Charles Quist, therefore, ordered the Registrar of the circuit court to supply the court with a certified true copy of the judgement on the case. Sitting was adjourned to June 6, 2011.
Bishop Kanco was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for defrauding Ms. Clove Sutherland, the British lady, of an amount of £120,000.
Additionally, the “Man of God” was ordered to refund the said money, and charged to read Psalm 51 while serving his jail term in prison.
Bishop Vaglas Kanco was convicted after the court found him guilty on the charge of defrauding by false pretences, after convincing Ms. Sutherland that she would die if she did not allow him to pray over a £120,000 cheque she had issued in the name of her former lover and business partner.
According to the court, evidence adduced in court indicated that Bishop Kanco had met one-on-one with Ms. Sutherland in London, where he was a Guest Preacher at a crusade organised by the Alive Chapel International, adding that the “Man of God” actually knew about the cheque before returning to Ghana.
It was the view of the court that Bishop Kanco had the cheque by deceiving Ms. Sutherland that he was going to exorcise the cheque from a demonic attack by her former lover, and return it on the next crusade date in June 2003.
Additionally, evidence before the court showed that Bishop Kanco caused Ms. Sutherland, who is a legal practitioner, to re-issue the cheque in his name, to prevent her occultist boyfriend from killing her.
The court, therefore, questioned why a new cheque should be issued, as it noted that Bishop Kanco intended not to return the cheque.
“The accused person intended to defraud the complainant, and took advantage of the complainant’s emotional trauma as a result of the breakdown of her amorous relationship,” the court emphasised, as it rejected Bishop Kanco’s defense that the £120,000 was a gift.
The court also noted that a letter written by Ms. Sutherlands’s lawyers to Bishop Kanco, requesting that he return the money, which was intended for a share in a company, yielded no results.
It was the view of the court that the cheque was to be prayed for and returned, however, Bishop Kanco became incommunicado after he failed to attend the June 2003 crusade, where he was expected to return the cheque.
The court further indicated that Bishop Kanco discontinued the legal services of his former counsel, Yoni Kulendi of Kulendi @Law, after his counsel asked him to return the money to Ms. Sutherland, but the “Man of God” rejected the advice, claiming the cheque was a gift.
According to Bishop Kanco, the cheque was among several others that he was blessed with, and therefore, it was not his intention to return it, since nobody had asked for it.
Bishop Kanco came into contact with Ms. Sutherland during a crusade in London, where the latter requested for intensive prayers to exorcise evil and demonic spirits that were fighting against her through her former boyfriend, who she had issued a cheque of £120,000 as a share in a company, but had rejected it, because the money was not up to the amount required.
Bishop Kanco then convinced Ms. Sutherland, who instructed her lawyers, Parker Arrenberg and Co., to re-issue the cheque in the name of the “Man of God,” as he promised never to cash it, but to return the cheque during the June/July 2003 crusade in London.
However, Bisho Kanco did not attend the crusade, and never returned the cheque, but it was later noticed that the cheque had been cashed
“He told me that my former partner was evil and dangerous, and that he was going to kill me. He (the Bishop) said he would save my life through persuasive prayers,” Ms. Sutherland noted in her evidence before the court.
After Ms. Sutherland could not reach Bishop Kanco on the telephone number he had provided, she then checked to ascertain the status of the cheque, which revealed that the Bishop had withdrawn the money at the Makola Branch of the Barclays Bank on May 19, 2003.
Several attempts, through distinguished pastors, including the General Overseer of the Alive Chapel International, Bishop Elisha Salifu Amoako, in her bid to reclaim her money did not yield any positive results.