Pastor Kelvin Kwesi Kobiri, the founder of Zoe Outreach Embassy, who is embroiled in an alleged Ponzi scheme, has been unmasked by The Inquisitor on why the money-making deal he had with the members of his church went bad.
After raking in huge sums of money as deposits from his church members, Pastor Kobiri promised the depositors mouth-watering interests but that never came to pass.
Instead, there is huge anger among the members of the church who feel short-changed by the ‘Man of God,’ whom they rely on for spiritual uplift.
The Inquisitor has delved into the activities of Pastor Kobiri and how he managed to entice his church members to part with huge sums of money that they are now trying to retrieve from the embattled pastor.
Pastor Kobiri started to warm his way into his members’ heart by first paying members who could lure new members to his church, located at Madina ARS, which is closer to the plush East Legon area.
The deal was that any member who could bring three new members was paid GHC100, and that membership drive paid off as the church’s auditorium was always filled to capacity on Sundays and on days that the Zoe Outreach Embassy had eventful programmes.
Lured by the membership drive, the youth in and around Madina started trooping to Zoe Outreach because Pastor Kobiri was giving out taxis on a work-and-pay basis at a very cheap rate.
The Inquisitor gathered that members of the Zoe Outreach Embassy became convinced that Pastor Kobiri was a business-oriented man of God and they had no problem at all when he invited them to deposit cash for huge interests.
The church members invested heavily in Pastor Kobiri’s EL Real Estates and Tikowre Capital.
As a matter of fact, some estate buildings belonging to Pastor Kobiri are located closer to his church premises but were unoccupied.
It is widely believed that those buildings were financed from the deposits that Pastor Kobiri took from his church members.
Sources within Zoe Outreach Embassy told The Inquisitor that Pastor Kobiri is suspected to have acquired some landed property in and around East Legon with part of the funds he collected from the depositors.
There are also pointers that Pastor Kobiri also allegedly invested the deposits he collected from his members in another savings and loans company that promised him better deals.
Pastor Kobiri And Plush Cars
The founder of Zoe Outreach Embassy loves luxurious cars and, per what The Inquisitor has unearthed, he attends church service with different cars.
At his home at ARS, there were some four expensive cars, including Range Rover and Jaguar, parked under a sunshade.
Pastor Kobiri had at different times used BMW X6, Porsche Cayan and Lexus, among others, to church.
It is not clear whether he procured any of the sleek cars with funds accrued from the deposits.
Early Life Of Pastor Kobiri
Kwesi Kobiri, as he was known before founding the Zoe Outreach Embassy, according to what The Inquisitor has gathered, started his adult business dealing in books.
He was getting his consignment via online and was dealing with students in the various universities across the length and breadth of the country.
An employee of one of the elite courier service companies told The Inquisitor of how Kwesi Kobiri was running his business professionally and helping students in the tertiary institutes with books that otherwise would not be found in the country.
According to that person, Kobiri at the time was very meticulous and was admired by people who dealt with him at the courier company.
The story was the same at Aviance Cargo at the Kotoka International Airport, where he used to clear his books from.
The Inquisitor was told at Aviance that Kobiri, at the time he was dealing in books, was seen as an honest businessman because he always paid the right duties.
How Church Members Demanded Kobiri’s Head Over Locked-Up Cash
siege would have turned bloody last Sunday at the church premises, but for the
timely intervention of the security agents, as angry members of the church who
have allegedly been swindled by Pastor Kobiri stormed the place to demand their
The aggrieved persons mostly men – some of them members of the Outreach – say they were convinced by the founder and leader of the East Legon-based church to invest hundreds of cedis with EL Real Estates and Tikowre Capital.
They said all attempts since last year to withdraw their dividends and principal from the two entities allegedly owned by Kelvin Kwesi Kobiri have proved futile.
After first attempts by these customers to get the attention of the pastor and retrieve their monies last Sunday, they thronged the premises of the church Monday to again relay their grievances.
Holding placards with inscriptions, including ‘Pay us Kelvin’, ‘Criminal’, ‘Duab) benya Kelvin’, they chanted and rained curses on the man of God, demanding for their monies.
Unlike the previous Sunday though, security was very tight, this time, with military presence. Members were scrutinized before they were allowed into the premises; protestors were therefore restricted outside the gate of the premises.
situation and the insistence of the irate members, church authorities had to
call for reinforcement from the police service.
According to the police, the protests were not warranted because official permission was not sought through writing from the police.
therefore been asked to convey their concerns through the appropriate means to
allow for proper procedures.
Insults From Pastor Kobiri
The angry victims told The Inquisitor of how Pastor Kobiri would insult them anytime they called him on the phone to demand their money.
They said that on numerous occasions, Pastor Kobiri had told them of how their investments were very low to his standard.
According to them, Pastor Kobiri, in an angry tone, told one of them that his deposit of GHC150,000 was nothing and he should therefore stop disturbing him.
Last Sunday’s Arrest
was last Sunday taken to the Police CID headquarters for interrogation.
This was after scores of aggrieved customers stormed his East Legon-based church for the second time in one week to demand locked-up cash.
The customers were met with a security blockade manned by policemen and soldiers who denied them access to the church premises.
The security officers assaulted the customers who resisted attempts to stop them.
A Joy News cameraman was also assaulted while covering the fracas and his camera was temporarily seized.
After his church service, Pastor Kobiri was escorted to the CID headquarters, along with some of the aggrieved customers.
customers say the police have taken statements from them.
How the investment worked
The customers, made up of Pastor Kobiri’s church members and some outsiders, say they were convinced by the preacher and or his assigns to invest in the scheme for returns.
Many of them, including Mustapha Alor and Thompson Agyeman, who spoke to Joy News, said they neither sought professional advice nor checked the registration status of EL Real Estates and Tikowre Capital with the regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), because their trust in the head pastor was sufficient.
that even when other microfinance institutions were going through crises,
Pastor Kelvin Kobiri, owner of the companies, was able to honour his companies’
financial obligations to them by paying GHC90,000 of the invested capital,GHC150,000.
However, for the past few months, things have come to a head and the customers have not been paid any interest or been able to retrieve their invested funds.