Court sentences Winners’ pastor to three years jail term over $90,000, N4.5m property fraud

A Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja has jailed Winners’ Chapel Treasurer Pastor, Afolabi Samuel, for stealing church funds through fraud.

It would be recalled that The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on November 25, 2019, arraigned a Pastor, Afolabi Samuel, before the court for allegedly stealing $90, 000 and N4.5m property of the Registered Trustees of the Living Faith Church, Canaan land, Ota, Ogun State.

Samuel, who was the accountant and member of the church, was brought by the commission on a four-count charge bordering on stealing and conspiracy before Justice Mojisola Dada.

Delivering judgment, Justice Dada who pronounced the Pastor guilty as charged, sentenced him to three years imprisonment.

The judge convicted him for conspiracy and stealing following the provisions of the extant laws.

Before the verdict, in an allocutus plea, the convict’s counsel, Rotimi Ogunwuyi, stated that his client did not only embarrass himself, but also his family.

He pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, especially looking at the fact that the convict had realised his mistake which made him change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

Mr Ogunwuyi pointed out that a convict is a family man, responsible for his children’s education and his aged parents.

The development made the judge grant him an option of a fine of one million naira and ordered him to restitute the sum of $90,000 and N2,358,000 to the Church.

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During the trial, the EFCC prosecutor, Samuel Daji, had alleged that the defendant, who worked as the treasurer of the church, committed the alleged offences sometimes between September 24 and December 31, 2018, in Lagos.

Daji informed the court that the offences are contrary to Sections 278, 285, and 490 of the Criminal law of Lagos State No. 11, 2011.

The commission said that Pastor Samuel and one Mrs Blessing Kolawole, a staff of the Covenant University (now at large), conspired and dishonesty stole money and property of the Registered Trustees of the Living Faith Church.

The Living Faith Church Pastor and Mrs Kolawole were accused of dishonestly converting the sum of $90, 000 and N4.5 million to their personal use.

According to a petition to EFCC dated June 26, 2019, and signed by Chioma Okwuanyi & Co legal practitioners, Pastor Samuel was employed in the Accounts Department of the Church to maintain proper records of funds.

The firm, acting as Solicitors to the Registered Trustees of the Living Faith Church, said that Both Pastor Samuel and Mrs Kolawole connived with other criminals and started taking advantage of their positions as the Church’s Treasurer and staff of the University respectively.

The firm said: “The duo started carrying out various acts of breach of trust and fraudulent commission of unconscionable economic crime and sabotage, by unlawfully diverting to their private use, the Church’s money in Pastor Samuel’s custody without the permission of the Church.

“The duo continued doing so until sometime in December 2018 when they ran out of luck and all their secret acts of economic sabotage and financial crime of fraudulently tampering with the church’s money were revealed.

“When confronted by the church, Pastor Samuel, who lives around the church at Raji Oba, Lagos admitted committing the act and even voluntarily made a written confession where he detailed how they have been stealing from the church.”

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Court sentences Winners’ pastor to three years jail term over $90,000, N4.5m property fraud

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Court sentences Winners’ pastor to three years jail term over $90,000, N4.5m property fraud

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