A Ghanaian pastor was sentenced to 519 years in prison on Monday for allegedly defrauding over 100 people who invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in his company through a Ponzi scheme. According to GhanaWeb, Reverend Edward Buabeng was sentenced by the Accra High Court after being found guilty of 173 counts of conspiracy to commit a crime and defrauding by false pretenses.
The pastor, who was described as the Chief Executive Officer of Career Link Marketers Company Limited, was sentenced to eight years in prison for each of the 173 counts. The sentences will also run simultaneously. During his three-year trial, 12 witnesses testified against the convicted reverend.
John Osei-Kumi and Brenda Adolphine were the complainants in the case. According to the state prosecutor, the complainants, who are also married, invested $7,000 in Reverend Buabeng’s company together. Adolphine also invested $6,000 separately after being led to believe she would receive 40% interest after three months.
The aforementioned investments were made by the complainants in July 2018. When it came time for the couple to receive the benefits, however, the convicted reverend failed to keep his end of the bargain. After they were unable to retrieve their investments, the couple filed a police report. It was also discovered that over 100 people had filed police reports against Reverend Buabeng.
Police investigations also revealed that Reverend Buabeng went into hiding after his company received investments totaling approximately GH 1,193,136 (over $80,000) and $185,408, according to GhanaWeb.
Following his arrest, the state prosecutor stated that Reverend Buabeng did not deny defrauding the complainants, and that he also offered to reimburse the funds because his company was capable of doing so. Even though a repayment agreement was reached, Reverend Buabeng did not keep his word. He was later arrested again and put on trial.
The court, however, acquitted and discharged the reverend’s wife and another accused person. A bench warrant has also been issued for a third accused person who allegedly jumped bail.