The Court of Appeal has delivered a judgment restraining Pastor George Adjeman and 12 others from using the name “Winners Chapel” as part of the name of their breakaway group church. The Court of Appeal further ordered Pastor George Adjeman to render to 1st and 2nd Plaintiffs, a true and complete statement of account with effect from 16/01/04, up to the date of his stewardship of the Winners Chapel church. The effect of the Court of Appeal Judgment was to affirm that LIVING FAITH WORLD OUTREACH CENTRE was the entity that set up Winners Chapel Ghana.
The Court having allowed the appeal further made certain consequential orders which amongst others included granting the Appellants the power to recover possession of :
- All the places of worship of the Winners Chapel being occupied by the Defendants and/or their followers.
- All items of worship of the Winners Chapel, being used by members.
The above Judgment is the outcome of an appeal filed at the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, Accra, in Consolidated Appeal No.H1/64/2019 & H1/192/2019 titled The Living Faith World Outreach Centre & 2 Ors v. The Registrar General, George Adjeman & 13 Ors. The judgment was delivered on November 30, 2020
Pastor Adjeman around whom the original suit and appeal revolve, was first employed in Nigeria as Pastor in the Winners Chapel of Nigeria. He was posted from Nigeria to Ghana in 1998 as pastor in the Winners Chapel of Ghana. He returned to Nigeria in 1999 and was reposted to Ghana in 2002.
In 2004 however, he was required to return to Nigeria again. This time, he resisted his transfer back to Nigeria. After refusing the said transfer, he took control of Winners Chapel in Ghana. This broke up the existing relationship with the Nigeria Branch of the Church.
He then decided that the Winners Chapel Church which had a strong connection with a similar church established in the Federal Republic of Nigeria had severed relations with the church in Nigeria. A suit was then instituted at the High Court against George Adjeman and 14 others.
JUDGMENT OF THE HIGH COURT
The Trial High Court among others, held that because Living Faith World Outreach Centre and World Mission Agency did not have certificates to commence business after their incorporation in 1996, they were therefore not entitled to do business or own properties including the name, ‘Winners Chapel’.
The suit was therefore dismissed and the Trial Court ordered that the properties, be valued and shared among all members of the Winners Chapel as of July 2004.
The Trial Court also ordered that Pastor George Adjeman and his followers buy out Living Faith World Outreach Centre and World Mission Agency, and their followers.
The effect of the High Court’s orders was that Pastor Adjeman and his followers were allowed to carry on their church activities in the premises of the Living Faith World Outreach Centre and World Mission Agency using the very name, “Winners Chapel” and its properties. Dissatisfied with this judgment the Plaintiff appealed against the same.
JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL
The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal made up of Tanko Amadu JSC (Presiding), Margaret Welbourne (JA), and Obeng-Manu Jnr. (JA), reversed the decision of the Trial Court and restrained George Adjeman and the other defendants from using “Winners Chapel” as part of the name of their breakaway churches.
As a fallout from the above, the Court also held that the name, “Winners Chapel” is exclusively associated with The Living Faith World Outreach Centre’s church not only in Ghana but in many other countries.
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