The Justice department has assigned prosecutors to probe the estafa charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation against officers of Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. for allegedly engaging in a fraudulent investment scheme in Mindanao.
Newly appointed Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento designated a panel of five prosecutors to investigate the complaint against Kapa founder Pastor Joel Apolinario and 13 other Kapa officials.
He ordered the panel to file cases before the appropriate courts “when warranted by evidence” after the preliminary investigation hearings.
Apolinario aside, the other accused are Nonita Urbano, Junnie Apolinario, Nelia Niño, Maria Pella Sevilla, Jouelyn Del Castillo, Cristobal Barabad, Joji Jusay, Reyna Apolinario, Modie Dagala, Benigno Tipan Jr., Marnilyn Maturan, Ricky Taer, Margie Dana, and another unidentified individual.
The bureau says the respondents are officers and employees in Kapa’s offices in Sarangani province, in Quezon City and in Taytay, Rizal, who “directly transacted” with its investors and the private complainants.
The NBI accuses Kapa of engaging in a Ponzi-type scheme.
The bureau cited as basis for the charges the affidavits of three private complainants—Virginia Ampo, Kim Ampo, and Judith Lechido—who invested P500,000, P45,000 and P30,000, respectively, in Kapa after being made to believe they would earn a monthly lifetime interest equivalent to 30 percent of the principal.
The NBI says it was able to verify the scheme by deploying poseur investors, inspecting Kapa offices in General Santos City and Sarangani Province, and securing witness affidavits.
The bureau says investigation showed that Kapa and its officers enticed the public to “donate” at least P10,000 in exchange for a 30-percent monthly “blessing” or “love gift” for life, without having to do anything other than invest and wait for the payout.
The investment scheme operated by the respondents involved the sale and offering for sale or distribution to the public of securities in the form of investment contracts.
The Justice department recently secured a hold-departure order against the Kapa officials from a Davao City regional trial court to prevent their possible flight to avoid prosecution.
The Securities and Exchange Commission last month filed a similar complaint with the Justice department against the same Kapa officers.
The SEC, through the Anti-Money Laundering Council, on June 4 obtained a freeze order from the Court of Appeals to preserve some P100 million in assets linked to Kapa.