GHANA’S SUPREME COURT ORDERS BISHOP GEORGE ADJEMAN TO VACATE AND RELINQUISH BISHOP OYEDEPO LED WINNERS’ CHAPEL 5,000 CAPACITY CHURCH FACILITY AND HIS RESIDENCE TO RIGHTFUL OWNERS
This Church cannot be broken because we are not a breakaway Church says Bishop David Oyedepo
*Bishop Adjeman yet to vacate facilities despite Supreme Court judgement.
*Court case lasted about 19 years.
*Adjeman to pay 19 years rent with interest.
The Supreme Court of Ghana has ordered that Bishop George Adjeman who was consecrated Bishop in November 1999 by Bishop Oyedepo and later rebelled should vacate the premises of Winners Chapel used by him for the last 19 years after a long drawn court case.
The judgement was given earlier in 2023 while some unscrupulous media elements tried to twist the story and turn it upside down due to the unhappiness of those who have been happy about the situation which lasted almost 2 decades and felt exposed by the judgement.
The Court also varied the decision that Bishop Adjeman render an account of his stewardship to WCI from 16/1/2004 to date and pay any monies due the Church with interest at the prevailing commercial bank interest rate by reducing the rate to be paid among other decisions.
However, it set aside an order by the Court of Appeal that restrained George Adjeman and others from using the name Winners Chapel for their breakaway group.
The Supreme Court upheld the following orders as made by the Court of Appeal;
Firstly, the Living Faith World Outreach Centre recovers possession of all that piece and parcel of land situated at Winners Chapel No.16 Otublohum Road, Industrial, Area.
Secondly, the court upheld the grant of H/No. 5, situated at Arko Adjei Street adjacent to Miklin Hotel, East Legon, Accra to the plaintiffs.
Additionally, George Adjeman and the group were restrained from disturbing the Plaintiffs’ quiet enjoyment of their properties, places, and items of worship.
Finally, the order for the Registrar General to delete the names of all the defendants as directors and/or subscribers to the Regulations of 1 and 2 Plaintiffs.
On the other hand, the appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal was granted in part.
The court set aside, the order directed at the Registrar General’s Department to remove the name Winners Chapel from the Registrar of Companies.
Secondly, the order that Winners Chapel should not be used by George Adjeman and others because it belonged exclusively to the Living Faith World Outreach Centre was set aside. This implies that even though the name Winners Chapel Ghana can operate within Ghana, it will be almost impossible to operate with exactly same name in any country outside Ghana.
Recall that at the time of the rebellion, George Adjeman broke away with 14 churches while the headquarter church had 16,000 regular worshippers. However, today, the Adjeman group has reduced to less than 1000 in the headquarters. As a matter of fact, when ChurchGist visited the dissident group at the headquarters during a Monday service (Prayer Meeting) in July 2022, Church Gist representative counted 33 in the service including the Church Gist Ghanaian and Nigerian representatives. Also, while the original Winners Chapel (International) has over 200 branches in Ghana with land procured for a university, the Adjeman group still has less than 20 branches
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Now the full story as promised….
THE REBELLION IN GHANA
Bishop Adjeman a Ghanian was a protege of Oyedepo in Kaduna right from his days in Kaduna.
He is a chartered accountant and was ordained as Bishop by same Oyedepo on 9th November 1999 after the dedication of Faith Tabernacle along with 6 other Bishops namely Thomas Aremu who is still with the Liberation Commission, Dayo Olutayo (who also left LFC in 2004), Bolu Martins, Mike Afolabi of blessed memory, Dickson Olorunda and Joseph Ebhohimien (Secretary at the Power House Meetings)
Bishop Adjeman had served variously in Abuja as well as Raji Oba, Lagos among other places of assignment. He held sway in those days whenever Bishop David Oyedepo was on his mission trips and was considered a faithful servant and was the only non-Nigerian consecrated Bishop in the history of the Living Faith Church.
In recognition of his faithfulness as well as a new indigenization policy of the Living Faith Church George Adjeman was transferred Ghana in 1996. He was later recalled and then sent in 2002 to head Winners Chapel Ghana which consisted of 14 churches spread across Ghana, Kingdom Heritage Model School and church house. Bishop Adjeman later re-registered the church in his own name, declared independence and the drama began..
IF YOU ARE FAITHFUL IN ANOTHER MAN’S…
In 2004 Bishop Adjeman staged a takeover of the Ghanaian branch of Winners Chapel after the Headquarters in Canaanland Ota, Nigeria attempted to transfer him to Ibadan when he refused to continue remitting the $60,000.00 monthly church income that was erstwhile remitted to the Nigerian headquarter. Remitting of Money from all branches of the world to Headquarter churches usually to fund various programs of the Church was practiced by Winners Chapel at the time. The Author remembers vividly during the building of Faith Tabernacle when amounts given by various branches and countries were mentioned by Bishop Oyedepo during thanksgiving. The practice has however ceased in Winners since 2012 when the Mandate or Church constitution was promulgated. Notably, the Ark building project which is ongoing has not required any branch church outside the headquarters at Canaanland to give to the project; however, the Catholic Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God and many others still practice this which is not in anyway a bad practice. After the monies have been remitted, certain percentages would be returned to the branches in some cases.
AN EXCUSE FOR REBELLION?
After Bishop Adjeman revealed how much was transported to Nigeria every week, all hell was let loose in Ghana as the debate became a Nigeria versus Ghana debate. Some Ghanaians felt it was wrong for a church in Ghana to remit money to a church in Nigeria; they therefore took sides with Bishop Adjeman. Others felt Adjeman was disloyal to his former boss in Nigeria and should leave the church using the right way and not taking over any of the church’s properties, members or name.
The Ghanaian branch of Winners Chapel Ghana was started in 1996 and as said earlier already had 14 branches, Kingdom Heritage Model school(s) etc while Adjeman was transferred to Ghana in 2002. However Adjeman claimed that when he got back to Ghana he met the church badly run and therefore when government authorities in Ghana called for Churches to be registered as companies, Bishop Adjeman went ahead to re-register the church in his own name and excluded the names of all the Nigerian trustees without informing the Nigerian church of the new regulatory development nor asking for their assent
THE UNRIGHTEOUS MAMMON
The initial aim of Adjeman wasn’t so clear at this stage. But what is sure is that Adjeman wanted at least financial independence from Nigeria at some point. The Ghanian church had kicked against the practice of money being “illegally” transferred to Nigeria. The Ghanaian church claimed that Winners Chapel isn’t a limited liability and should not transfer money to Nigeria only to later receive some percentages of it.
GET DOWN TO BASORUN IBADAN!
Following Adjeman’s refusal to keep remitting money to Headquarters in Nigeria he was transferred to then Ibadan Diocese with headquarters in Basorun, Oyo state.
Bishop Adjeman rejected the Ibadan transfer and notified church members that he was being transferred because of his refusal to remit money to Nigeria. Some members cheered Adjeman on and encouraged him to disregard the transfer.
BISHOP ABIOYE ORDERED TO GHANA
As Adjeman remained adamant, Bishop David Abioye, the Executive Vice President of the LFC was sent to Accra to stem the tide. Adjeman refused to see him and instead locked Bishop Abioye out of the Church premises. Reports have it that some unscrupulous elements had the temerity to attempt to rough handle the senior Bishoo in hierarchy in total disregard of authority. Bishop Abioye consequently returned to Canaanland to report the situation he met.
Once Adjeman had refused to honor his transfer to Ibadan, Adjeman was then sacked by the Church Headquarters.
GHANA PENTECOSTAL FELLOWSHIP INTERVENES
Following the attempt at secession the Ghanaian Pentecostal Fellowship (GPF)ordered Adjeman to vacate the Winners Chapel premises. The argument of GPF stemmed from the fact that Winners Chapel Ghana was built with seed funding from Nigeria and therefore it should be returned to the mother church.
WCI AND WCG
While attempts where being made to resolve the crisis of ownership, WCI quickly moved to establish another place of worship to stop the confusion. They were now referred to in Ghana as the Oyedepo original body (WCI Ghana) and the Adjeman’s faction referred to as Winners Chapel Ghana (WCG or Winners’ Ghana). A long journey was about to begin that would last the next 19 years in the Ghanaian judicial system.
DESTROY THIS TEMPLE AND I WILL BUILD IT IN 3 DAYS
Once the Adjeman faction had retained the church premises in 2004 the WCI secured another space not too far away where they began worshipping as the headquarter church in Nigeria went to court in Ghana and began the tussle with the renegade WCG led by Adjeman. At this time, Dele Bamgboye (now of High Flyers) and later Abraham Ojeme (now at the Summit Church) were sent variously to Accra. At a meeting between George Adjeman and Abraham Ojeme, Ojeme asked-Can you give one scripture that justifies what you are doing? Adjeman had no response. Again, during a press interview, Adjeman pointed out that WCI had established a new and big church within only 3 months and used that to justify his actions.
As the Crisis metarmophosed the GPF equally admonished Oyedepo to settle Adjeman so he can go and start his own ministry. Oyedepo initially disagreed querying if that wouldn’t be tantamount to a bribe. Oyedepo’s believes he does not own the Church and as such could not give church property out as ‘settlement’. The GPF however encouraged him to see it as a way of setting up a Son.
GIVE ME $50,000, CHURCH HOUSE AND OFFICIAL CAR AND I WILL GO!
To settle the problem, Adjeman made a demand that he be paid $50,000 as severance, along with the church mission house and a car. Oyedepo vehemently opposed this but he was persuaded to see Adjeman as a son and not a rebel and that he should see the money given to Adjeman as a parting gift to a son. Bishop Oyedepo, after due consultation with his church elders, was said to have agreed to approve $100,000 but without a car or the Church Mission house. This didn’t go down well with Adjeman and he decided to help himself with the church.
THE devil BOOED AT SHILOH 2004
During Shiloh 2004, Bishop David Oyedepo requested the Ghanaian delegation to stand up. As the large numbers stood up, he asked everyone at Shiloh to mock the devil. A large boo rang out. The WCI Ghana was back on its feet.
I AM SORRY?
Seemingly feeling remorseful after 6 years, Adjeman visited Oyedepo in 2010 against the wishes of his lawyers. There, Oyedepo reportedly agreed to let Adjeman have all the properties but should drop the “Winners’ Chapel” tag from his church name which was the root of the contention. Reports have it that the apology might have been recorded. Adjeman agreed to drop the name and even church propertiea.
But Adjeman changed his mind as he got back to Ghana especially as his congregation were unhappy that he took such a decision without their knowledge thereby making them look like usurpers.
13 years after the rebellion of 2004, precisely in June 2017 the Ghanian High Court dismissed the lawsuit by WCI. According to the Court, WCG is a registered and recognized church in Ghana as it was duly registered by Adjeman and therefore won the case. However properties acquired between 1996 and 2002 must be valued and half returned in cash value to WCI. However judgment was not given as regards the name of the Church.
AN APPEAL IS MADE
In November 2020, the Appeal Court in Ghana reversed the decisions of the High Court
The summary of the judgment and the consequential reliefs granted by the Appeal Court are:
1. The judgment of the trial high court is reversed.
2. All properties acquired or funded by the Church a.k.a. Winners Chapel International (1st and 2nd Plaintiffs) are the Church’s bona fide properties.
3. The Church is entitled to recover its properties at East Legon, No. 16 Otublohum Road, Industrial Area, all places of worship and items of worship of the Church occupied by Adjeman and Winners Chapel Ghana.
4. The Registrar General is to delete the names of Adjeman and the Defendants from its records as directors and subscribers of Winners Chapel and restore the names of the Church and its directors and subscribers in their stead.
5. Adjeman is to render an account of his stewardship to the Church from 16/01/2004 to date and pay any moneys due the Church with interest at the prevailing commercial bank interest rate.
6. The Church is entitled to the exclusive use of the name “Winners’ Chapel and Adjeman and the other Defendants are injuncted in perpetuity from using the name.
The case was conducted by Thaddeus Sory and Pst Nii Amassah Kotey who unfortunately passed on to glory a few days before judgment was given. Thanks be to God for crowning their efforts with success.
As expected, Bishop Adjeman appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Ghana which is the highest judicial body in Ghana.
WCI and WCG TODAY
The WCI started again in 2004 after the unfortunate split. It now has a network of over 250 churches in Ghana and is about getting its own university. However WCG led by Adjeman has plunged from 14,000 members as at the time of secession to about 1,000 members and in a Monday Prayer meeting attended by Church Gist in July 2022, Church Gist counted 33 in her weekly program and this included our representative from Nigeria and our Ghanaian rep.
REVISITING THE DAY OF REBELLION IN 2004
The day of secession as told by a Ghanaian Eye Witness in Church-Paul Agbai
“A lot had been going on prior to the coup de tat that day, a Wednesday… In April 2004. Prior to that day, the Pastors from WCG had gone to Lagos for annual pastors retreat of which George Adjeman himself was supposed to go but he didn’t and rather handpicked those pastors loyal to him to go. News had gone round before the arrival of the Pastors that those who went to Lagos were made to sign some undertaken against their will, but no one could ascertain this claim.
I came to church that night, driving towards the church, behind one Pastor Richard Appiah, who was next to Bishop Adjeman in seniority, himself just coming from the Lagos trip and was heading to Church that night.
Just by the gate of the Church, the head of Crowd Control Unit, (CCU), stopped him and said “Oga” has said that all the pastors who went to Lagos should not be allowed in. This Pastor Richard Appiah gave a note to the brother to go and give the Bishop that he, Richard, had come but Bishop Adjeman sent a message back that he should meet him in the house by 9pm. I was in my car, just behind Pastor Richard as all these unfolded, I was wondering and a bit confused because of all the preceding tension buildups. Well, Richard’s wife got down from the car and trekked in to take her sit with the choir I was leading then.
I reversed my car abit for Richard to pull back before I could enter the church in my car.
Towards the end of the service, Bishop Adjeman stood up with a script in his hand and started…..”when a child in the womb delays in coming out, a surgical operation is needed, we are about doing a surgical operation.”
Along the lines of the script, was this statement that shocked me to my bones and marrows till date. Bishop Adjeman said that “all the pastors that went to Lagos had been held and detained against their will and he doesn’t know where they are and that the Church should rise up so that we pray for their release from those holding them in Nigeria..”
I stood up with others…but instead of praying..I was lost in wondering if this was a kind of home movie theatre or a church, I am in?.and congregation prayed like they were casting out demons in Africa…you know that scene….I was asking myself…is it not now that this man asked the pastors to meet him at a place for meeting at 9pm…but unsuspecting souls were led astray to make it look like it’s a fight between Ghana and Nigeria… 13 years down the line (2017) …no sense of remorse… Not even after he later called Bishop Oyedepo that he wanted to come to see him for restitution and he was granted audience.
In that meeting captured on Video, he told Bishop Oyedepo that he was ready to let go and Bishop told him he should just drop the name that is creating confusion and go with the properties to start his own ‘Life Assembly Church’ he jettisoned. Bishop Adjeman said, he won’t only drop name of Winners’ Chapel he is using but would drop all properties too..(…he returned to Ghana and changed his mind………
End of my eye witness account of that night of “surgical operations” to remove WCG from WCI. !