Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Monday remanded a Pastor, Afolabi Samuel, in prison for allegedly stealing the sum of $90,000 and N4.5m belonging to the Registered Trustees of the Living Faith Church, Cannanland, Ota, Ogun State.
Pastor Samuel, an accountant and member of the church popularly called Winners Chapel, was arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a two-count charge of stealing and conspiracy.
The EFCC prosecutor, Sunday Daji, said that the defendants, who worked as the treasurer of church, committed the alleged offences sometime between September 24 and December 31, 2018 in Lagos.
The EFCC alleged that Samuel and one Mrs. Blessing Kolawole, a staff of the Covenant University, now at large, conspired and dishonesty stole the money and property of the Registered Trustees of the Living Faith Church.
The pastor and Mrs. Kolawole were accused of dishonestly converting the sum of $90, 000 and N4.5 million to their own 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 others at large and started taking ‘criminal advantage’ of their positions as the church’s treasurer and a staff of the university respectively.
According to the firm, “The duo started carrying out various acts of alleged breach of trust and fraudulent commission of 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 the month of 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 was 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 wherein he detailed how they have been stealing from the church”.
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From: Yetunde Oyegbami <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2019, 14:25
Subject: Court remands man over alleged stealing N4.486m from Winners Church
To: Odita Sunday <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Court remands man over alleged stealing N4.486m from Winners Church
By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
For allegedly stole N4.486 million from Living Faith Church (a.k.a Winners Chapel), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned a middle age man, Afolabi Samuel for stealing.
Samuel was arraigned on a four count charges before a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja for alleged dishonest conversion of $90,000.00 to his own use.
The EFCC alleged that the Samuel with one Mrs Blessing Kolawole who is still at large did conspired sometime in 2018 in Lagos, converted N2,128, 000.00 and N2,358,000.00 property of Registered Trustees of the Living Faith Church a.k.a Winners Chapel.
The anti-graft agency said the offence contrary to Section 278 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, No 11, 2011.
Also, conspiracy to commit felony to wit stealing contrary to section 409 and 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
Following his plea of not gulty to all the count charges, Justice Mojisola Dada ordered him to be remand in Nigerian Correctional Service formerly known as prison custody.
The judge therefore adjourned further hearing to December 10, 2019.
Earlier, the defendant counsel, R. E Ogunwuyi had told the court that the dedendant has been on medication for an undisclosed illness.
He said, ” I humble apply that the defendant be remand in EFCC custody. The defendant has been undergoing health challenges.”
But in his response, the EFCC counsel refuted the claim, stating that the defendant is not undergoing any medical treatment in their custody.
Justice Dada thereafter remanded the defendant in custody and adjourned the matter till December 10, 2019 for hearing of his bail application.