Gospel for Asia fights back against fraud allegations

KP Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia, pictured in a February 2015 video from Kerala.YouTube

Gospel for Asia (GFA), the mission organisation headed by KP Yohannan that is facing accusations of financial mismanagement and deliberate attempts to deceive its donors, has filed papers seeking to have a suit against it dismissed.

Problems at the organisation were revealed by blogger Warren Throckmorton, who has covered the case extensively. Throckmorton showed that GFA, which appeals for funds for work in India and elsewhere claiming needs are desperate, had huge financial reserves and that it was difficult to show where some of the money had gone. Formerly a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), GFA had its membership revoked in October 2015 due to "failure to comply with multiple ECFA standards".

The leaked official ECFA revealed the "excessive cash balances held in partner field accounts". Told during a site visit that the field partner reserves were approximately $7million, it was discovered that the figure was approximately $186 million and had been as high as $259 million.

Former supporters Matthew and Jennifer Dickson sued GFA, alleging that KP Yohannan had used GFA to solicit money for the needy and diverted those funds to purchase for-profit businesses.

In their suit, the Dicksons say: "Soliciting charitable donations to benefit the poorest of the poor while covertly diverting the moeny to a multi-million dollar personal empire is reprehensible; using a Christian organization as a front to attract and exploit the goodwill and generosity of devout Christians is a particularly vile scheme."

GFA has now responded with denials of the allegations and a motion to dismiss the suit. Citing an agreement the Dicksons entered into while they were GFA employees not to sue over disputes, GFA also demands that they enter a process of arbitration instead.