The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a $170 million class-action lawsuit filed by a former donor of Gospel for Asia (GFA) Canada, alleging the non-profit organization of mishandled funds and donations.
According to Plaintiff Greg Zentner of Nova Scotia, GFA deceived and made careless misstatements to him and other donors, CBS News reported. He also claimed that officers and directors of the charity conspired to falsify the nature of donations garnered.
However, Justice Peter Cavenaugh overthrew the allegations made by Zentner against GFA on March 17. Cavenaugh found that some bases of the plaintiff's assertions were weak to prove that the charity misappropriated the donor funds, The Christian Post reported. The plaintiff also failed to prove that he or other class members experienced a "compensable loss," the judge added.
Speculation is not evidence
"Suspicion based on speculation is not enough," the judge wrote in his ruling. Cavenaugh also mentioned that Andy Harrington, a forensic accounting expert with GFA Canada, looked into how donor cash was spent. According to him, Harrington's findings were not challenged by any other expert evidence. He concluded that GFA utilized the donor funds as it was intended for - ministry activities.
In a press release, GFA expressed their gratitude for the many supporters who stood by them during their ministry's ordeal. Their ministry became stronger as they prayed and relied upon the Lord more. As stated, they worked diligently despite the criticisms they received.
Looking forward, GFA hopes for more effective outcomes through their ministry works. As they believed that the world is in "need of the love of Jesus more than ever." With the help of their supporters, they plan to continue affecting every life.
While defending itself, GFA filed for creditor protection due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative publicity brought by the multimillion lawsuit filed against them. It was said that the accusations led to a decrease in donations.
As they were being investigated, the judge had decided to let them accept donations but not send money outside Canada without the court's approval.
2015 Lawsuit Against GFA Founder
In 2015, GFA Founder Dr. KP Yohannan and his associates were accused of racketeering, fraud, and financial mismanagement. The case was settled for $37 million to avoid further expenses as advised by many Christian leaders, according to Yohannan as he talked about the lawsuit with a well-known pastor and author Francis Chan.
Chan expressed his initial reaction when he found out about the lawsuit filed against Yohannan and GFA. He said that he was tempted to distance himself just like others as he didn't want to be associated if Yohannan was charged guilty. Nevertheless, he came to appreciate Yohannan as he let him check his personal income tax returns as well as Yohannan's son, Daniel Punnoose. Chan said that he did this for him to speak to people with integrity.
Yohannan said that he was confused and worried about what was going on. He became depressed as the people removed themselves away from him. However, through this experience, the GFA founder concluded that "Without suffering, we cannot serve the Lord."