US televangelist Benny Hinn has denied any knowledge of the controversial Finger of God church in Runda which KTN former presenter Esther Arunga joined recently.
"Benny Hinn has been my spiritual leader since 1996," said embattled church leader and saxophone player Joseph Hellon on Wednesday.
Yesterday at a press conference at the Runda house, Hellon went on to declare that he will be standing for President in 2012 with Esther as his running mate.
Controversial emails have been circulating that were allegedly exchanged between Pastor Hinn and Hellon.
The emails purport to be from Benny Hinn instructing Hellon what to do on a daily basis. The emails purportedly from Benny Hinn instructed Hellon to break up Esther Arunga's engagement to her fiance Wilson Malaba in favour of Quincy Timberlake Wambita Zuma who is reportedly now her lover. The Star contacted the Benny Hinn Ministries to enquire if the emails were genuine.
"Firstly, the email address is not Pastor Benny Hinn's and secondly Pastor Benny, if you have listened to any of our programs, would never give advice as suggested in the emails. So the information that you are in possession of are untrue," Hinn's handlers responded.
On Wednesday, Hellon told the Star that a personal assistant whom he recently fired used his passwords to print out the emails to be used against him in a "hate campaign" by disbarred members of his church.
"I know about those emails, they are with my lawyers now," he said.
"Those emails are junk mail. It is unfortunate that the name of someone of Benny Hinn's stature can be brought up in junk mail," he told the press conference yesterday. The press conference was organised by David Makali whose Sound Africa company recently gave Hellon a recording contract.
At the end of the press conference Hellon announced that in 2012 he would be running for president with Esther Arunga as his running mate.
One of the "junk" emails from "Hinn" dated February 11 has a similar prophesy.
"I can see in 2011-12 season you becoming nominated as an MP, out of your music tour globally as there's a neighbouring minister who already hates you for that announcement from the PM Raila camp," the email states.
Another email from "Hinn" on the same day addressed to Hellon states: "I see Esther becoming a prominent personality in government. This is what the parents hate to learn since they think that Esther will never value them seriously anymore."
Yesterday Hellon vehemently defended the integrity of his Finger of God church.
"Before we were registered the CID vetted us for five years to see if we are worthy of the licence," he said. He denied the church was a cult.
"A cult is a secret organisation where people meet in an inaccessible place but we meet in public places. We follow the Bible and have been in operation for three years. The membership has grown significantly and now we have 600 members," he said.
Church members take communion (including wine, bread and salt) twice a day. Hellon was reluctant to comment on the practice saying, "I will not get into details of the dogmatic practices of the church. If you would like to know, come and register."
The newly registered members of the church go through Bible school up to the certificate level, after which they are eligible for baptism by Apostle Hellon.
He also defended the composition of his church members. "I have a lot of media and entertainment people coming to the church because I deal with them daily," he said.
Cabinet minister Njeru Githae who lives next door complained about the monthly Starry Jazz nights.
The minister said, "Hellon, his wife, Esther Arunga and Wanja Gachogu were very instrumental in themed monthly Jazz Nights that were done the last Thursday of every month. Attendance was by invitation by the four of them. I attended the ones for August, September, October and November last year and stopped. Each Jazz night had different themes like, red and black, blue and pink, white and gold.
"I attended the nights from around 8pm till 11pm because on Fridays I had to be in the office. I don't know what times they ended and what happened. For the times I attended, it was purely music, food, water and wine only. The crowd was very elegant and Nairobi's uppity. They were mainly TV anchors, musicians, models and professionals. At no time was I asked to attend their church services. Maybe they have a game plan and they had their own timings of recruitment."
Hellon defended the use of alcohol quoting Ephesians 5:18: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit".
Esther Arunga criticised the journalists' focus on her life as "baying for blood". She threatened to sue three media houses and calling for the firing of the Star journalist Grace Kerongo who broke the story. Esther denied rumours that she is pregnant.
On why she quit her job at KTN, she said, "I had asked for a two weeks leave during the break-up with Wilson. I then went back and resigned for a number of reasons including not being paid enough."
This is the second time that the TV personality has broken off an engagement. Hellon said he stopped the upcoming nuptial between Arunga and her fiance because "Wilson's conduct was contrary to the church's beliefs. He wasn't even a registered member."
Arunga explained, "I broke off the engagement when two girls from the church said he was making sexual passes at them. He also took my logbook to get loans from illegal financiers. He has 15 logbooks (of other people) including mine."
But Wilson Malaba retorted, "This is turning out to be a fiasco. I have been single since 2007. If I was planning to have an affair I would do so then not when I know I'm about to be married."
On the loan sharks and Arunga's log book, he said, "I'm planning to hold a press conference and bring along the documentation for the loan she is talking about and she will know when she will get her car back. The person who offered the loan is a friend of mine and he only offers them to close friends only."