By Kelvin Chiringa
Nigerian pastor, Isaak Onwordi together with his wife and son have refused to let go of a poshy Dorado Park home which they are being accused of seizing from an old Namibian couple based in Karibib.
Onwordi is the owner of the Katutura based Life Changing Christian Church with the leadership team made up of his wife, Suama Onwordi as Secretary General and his son Marcel Onwordi as Chief executive officer, Resident pastor and Manager of operations.
The family has alleged that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in October 2010 with Gervasius and Fransiska Arnat.
They claimed that the couple agreed to act as an agent for their church to purchase the said house by sourcing a N$1.5 million loan from FNB Karibib.
The house is located on Erf 148 in the area of Dorado Park along Antilia Street.
According to the pastor, the agreement was that they would pay back this loan, which according to him, they did in a timeous manner.
Onwordi’s church via their lawyer who is working in conjunction with Sisa Namandje, said they commenced to pay N$15 937.14 monthly. They allege that another N$61 392.48 was paid to the couple as donation. Both parties squared off in the Windhoek High Court this past week as the Arnats adamantly maintained that they never entered into a MoU with the pastor and his wife.
They have rubbished the MoU document as fake and insist that they never signed it and the signatures purported to be theirs were forged.
The couple consequently opened a criminal case in the lower court in which they are suing the pastor and his wife on charges of fraud and forgery. The pastor’s son, Marcel, testified against the Arnats’ claims on Tuesday saying that the MoU was signed at their house and he took a purported affidavit document to a Standard Bank commissioner for signing.
His mother told the court that the police had refused to sign it.
Marcel admitted that this commissioner happened to be a colleague of his, adding that he initially refused to commission/certify it in the absence of the physical signatories.
Marcel went on to testify that he had to plead with the colleague until he convinced him that he would bring the signatories’ identity documents, since the Arnats were not available in Windhoek.
“To my recollection, the document was drafted by my father and he sent it to Mr. Arnat. They added one or two items on the document and returned it to my father,” said Marcelo.
His mother told the court that the Arnats examined the document for about three weeks before they handed it to them.
As far as he is concerned the Arnats have breached the agreement by attempting to get the house bank by instituting a court case against them. The couple has countered this allegation by stating that they had merely rented it out to the church via an agreement which was later broken.
Gaps and question marks
Meanwhile the pastor and his family occupy senior positions in the church while his wife is a co-founder. Contradictions arose as to who found the house first as the wife claimed to have done so while the Arnats are alleging the same thing.
However, Marcel’s testimony was found to be filled with holes and question marks when he was put under intense cross-examination by the Arnats’ lawyer.
He admitted that at one time they wanted to get bank statements to no avail because FNB said, “We do not know you,” given that the loan account was in the name of the couple.
When he was made to see that this meant that the house was not theirs, Marcelo agreed that as far as the bank was concerned the house belonged to the Arnats.
He however was quick to remark, “But between us and the Arnats we know the truth”. It was also put to him that had he not pleaded or begged, the commissioner-colleague of his could not have signed the MoU document and by ultimately signing it, an illegality had been committed.
Documents seen by The Patriot show that the pastor and his church, who have hogged negative media limelight in the past, now want an out of court settlement.
The Arnats have rejected it.
This publication was shown a letter, purportedly penned by Sisa Namandje’s office in which the pastor offered to buy the house to rest the case.
This has raised questions as to why he would seek to buy the property he claims to be his.
The letter dated 12 April 2019 reads, “In line with Judge Tommasi’s advice in the above matter for the parties to settle the dispute, our clients would like to make an offer to buy the property from your clients, this being made with the consideration of what our clients have thus far paid towards the property.” “Our client proposes the following: Your clients make an offer with regards to the purchase price of the property, that your client provides us with a complete home loan statement running from the time that our client has been servicing the bond.”
Meanwhile, Marcel, on behalf of the church which he began working for full time some time in 2014, maintained that the house was theirs by virtue of the MoU and wants the Arnats’ case to be dismissed with costs.
He wants FNB Karibib to sign all documents necessary so that the house can be transferred to their name.
He has asked the court to order the deeds office to stop transferring the house to the Arnats.