Elder Keith Brown joins the What Color is the Sky in Their World team with this piece regarding Church Team Ministries International…..welcome aboard Keith!
Have CTMI made the same mistake as Al Capone? Despite many crimes, the infamous Chicago mobster was eventually arrested and jailed for tax avoidance.
Today major South African newspapers carried the story of Grace Gospel Church being involved in a deceitful cover up and tax avoidance by fraudulently arranging two sales agreements. You can read the article here.
The seller and neighbours have told us how the story unfolded.
• A desperate to sell owner of a seven acre property in Waterfall was approached by Selby Mpofu as a member of Kurai Consulting who made an offer which the seller accepted in September 2010. (We know the local church of CTMI has been looking for land for a while. Audrey Hardy challenged them at family camp last year to raise funds and that Mauritius would help)
• The seller was told the land and buildings would be used for a special school. She was suspicious when asked to sign two sales agreements (one for less than half the offer) which included a confidentiality clause not to tell anyone about the deal. She was assured there was no problem and was given obscure reasons for the two sales agreements.
• A meeting was held with neighbours led by Peter John Blatch to sell the idea of a special school to neighbours. Many neighbours objected and felt their questions were avoided. How was a special school for 10-15 pupils a viable business deal? They did not want extra traffic in a quiet rural area.
• Many neighbours submitted formal objections to the local municipality for the rezoning of the property for education.
• Keith Page approached the seller and asked for the keys for the property in order to enter when she was not there. The place was left unlocked and was burgled. When insurance refused to pay because there was no break in she approached Page for help which was refused.
• The seller was paid in instalments and was told by Mpofu that he was waiting for Rupees. (She wondered if there was money coming from India!?)
• After receiving the final payment in December 2010 the seller was given one month to leave or pay exorbitant occupational rent.
• She happened to bump into a friend who is an ex CTMI member and told her she had eventually found a buyer. The seller was told Mpofu, Blatch and Page were all members of CTMI and that the land would be primarily for a controversial church and not a school. She was also told that signing two sales agreements was fraudulent.
• The seller was distraught and spoke to neighbours to apologise and even offered to try to buy back the property.
• Neighbours were disturbed to receive a letter sent to only one of them from the Durban Municipality informing them that two clauses had been removed for the rezoned education criteria. This before any confirmation that the property had been rezoned. A rate payers association specialist has declared this highly irregular. The removed clauses enable the buyer to add further buildings and practice business from the property.
• It was then discovered that the land was transferred through the deeds office at less than half of what was paid to the seller. (Thereby avoiding a significant amount of transfer tax)
• The seller decided to come clean and prepared an affidavit to report the matter to the relevant authorities.
• The neighbours called a meeting to decide the way forward and CPG members were invited to answer questions and the group watched the Feb 2010 Carte Blanche programme exposing CTMI.
• The meeting decided that the neighbours would take the matter to the press who called Mpofu. He became aware that their deceit and fraud were exposed.
• Despite Mpofu denying to the press that Grace Gospel Church had anything to do with the deal, the neighbours were invited to a meeting last week where they were greeted by a significant portion of the congregation of local CTMI members. They attempted a typical smooth PR exercise with testimonies from CPG family members, one of whom had flown especially from Mauritius for this meeting. (He did not contact his local parents and family who discovered he was in town after the fact from neighbours) They wanted the neighbours “to feel their heart”. Neighbours were told that all they had heard from CPG in the previous meeting was lies. The despicable lie that CPG members kicked their children out of their homes was repeated.
• Neighbours could not believe that a “Christian” group with evidence of fraud against them and who had lied to them for a year could so brazenly call a meeting to “sell themselves” and “preach from the bible” to the neighbourhood. Basil O’ Connell Jones upset neighbours with his now infamous belligerent approach.
So once again CTMI have been caught in their deceitful ways. And once again CPG are the scapegoats with “lies and persecution”! Meanwhile CPG only recently became aware. The seller and neighbours have raised the awareness and reported the matter. Not that the messenger is relevant. It is surely the validity of the message that counts.
How will they cover up the clear evidence this time? What will they say to their members? How will they respond to the charges from SARS and other professional bodies involved?
Watch this space and pray for God’s truth to prevail.