The lawyer for the six aggrieved former pastors of Lighthouse Chapel, Kofi Bentil, says his clients have not demanded $12 million from the church as being circulated on the internet.
According to him, the figure is a figment of the imagination of the defendant, Lighthouse Chapel.
Speaking in a phone interview with Myjoyonline, August 20, he explained 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.
Kofi Bentil said, “Yes they mentioned that figure in court and I promptly got off my seat and denied it in open court that they have reported themselves that that figure is not true.
“Secondly the judge told them that even if we had said so, it is for them to make their counteroffer so they should go and sit down and make their offer and settle this matter because it was in their interest.”
He added that this is not the first time the Lighthouse Chapel has cooked up numbers and thrown them onto the internet as purported demands from the aggrieved pastors.
“They made a video and mentioned $2 million; that we are asking for $2 million. At another point, they said it was 12 million cedis, and then now they’re saying it’s 12 million dollars.
“We have categorically denied it in a statement that we put out. We have not made such a request of them,” he emphasised.
The six aggrieved pastors, per their statement of claim cited by Myjoyonline, are demanding;
“An order compelling defendant to pay the unpaid SSNIT contributions of Plaintiff to the date of departure.
“An order to compute and pay plaintiff the balance of salary due him per the human resources manual of Defendant at the Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus levels and interest on same till date of final payment.
“General damages of breach of contract, pain, and suffering caused as a result of defendant’s bad treatment of plaintiffs across his employment, loss of family health care, loss of opportunities in terms of spouse, as well as severance package.
“Costs, including solicitors’ fees.”
Meanwhile, the Lighthouse Chapel has refused to go into settlement talks with the aggrieved parties.
According to Kofi Bentil, after some bishops had tried to intervene in the matter to bring it to an amicable close, the Lighthouse Chapel had refused to join the settlement talks.
“There were some bishops who asked us to settle the matter and we said yes we were prepared to settle the matter. So we sat down with the bishops and went through many weeks of settlement talks. Lighthouse did not attend even one. And finally, they called and told the bishops that they were not interested in the settlement talks,” he said.
Six ex-pastors of Lighthouse International have dragged the Church to court for failing to pay their Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions in full while that of others, was not paid at all.
They are; Larry Odonkor, Emmanuel Oko Mensah, Edem Kofi Amankwa, Seth Sarpong Duncan, Edward Laryea, and Faith Fiakojo.
Together, these six ministers of God laboured for a cumulative 42 years and five months, without their pension contributions being paid.
The National Pensions Act 2008, (Act 766) requires employers to pay on behalf of their employees, monthly contributions to the SSNIT pension scheme.
Most of them, who served as student-leaders in the gospel, say they were not given employment letters. There was also no formal employer-employee relationship when they transitioned into full-time service of the Lord after graduation.
The six have since resigned from the Church for various reasons and dragged the Lighthouse Chapel International, which used to be the epicentre of their spiritual and social lives, to court.