3 People Charged For Defrauding Celestial Church of N85.9M
Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
Two men, John Rotimi Omotosho and Boye Olaniyan and a woman, Folashade Ogundipe, have been charged before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for allegedly defrauding the headquarters of Celestial Church of Christ, Imeko Cathedral, Ogun State, of the sum of N85, 914, 500 million.
Omotosho, Olaniyan and Ogundipe, were charged before the court alongside a company, Folafunmi Integrated Limited, on four counts charge of conspiracy and obtaining under false pretence, by men of the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (Force CIID), Alagbon, Ikoyi Lagos.
The police in a charge marked FHC/L/226c/2019, alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves to commit the act between 2006 and 2018.
To carry out the offence, the police stated that the defendants defrauded the church under the pretence of developing the Imeko Cathedral of the church, by issuing several Zenith Bank Plc cheques, which they used in withdrawing the money from the Church’s development project account with the bank.
The police also alleged that the duo of Ogundipe and Olaniyan, at different times fraudulently withdrew the sum of N4.5 million and N2, 260 million, from Zenith Bank Plc Account No: 1010529055 bearing the account name Imeko Cathedral Development Project Committee, through 28 different cheques drawn in their names, under the false pretence that they were using the money to facilitate the construction of the Church Cathedral Project.
The offences according to the police are contrary to Sections 8(a),1(1)(a) and 1(1)(a)&(b) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2010. And punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.
When the matter was called today, for the defendants to take their plea, they were not in court and also not represented by any lawyer.
The prosecution, Force CIID, was represented by Mrs. Ezema Susan, who told the court that she was in court for another matter.
Upon enquiries by the trial judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji, about the whereabout of the defendants, she requested for a date in order to get in touch with the Investigating Police Office (IPO) in-charge of the case.
Consequently, Justice Faji, while counseling the police lawyer to take step in notifying all the defendants, adjourned the matter till February 17, for their arraignment of all defendants.
The change against the defendants read thus: : That you John Rotimi Omotosho (M), Folashade Ogundipe (F) Boye Olaniyan (M) and Folafunmi Integrated Limited between 2006 and 2018, within the Lagos Judicial Division of the court, did conspired among yourselves to commit felony to wit; obtaining under false pretence, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act, Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2010
That you John Rotimi Omotosho (M), Folashade Ogundipe (F) Boye Olaniyan (M) and Folafunmi Integrated Limited, between 2006 and 2018, within the Lagos Judicial Division of the court, with an intent to defraud Celestial Church of Christ, fraudulently obtained the sum of N79, 154, 500, million (seventy nine million, one hundred and fifty four thousand and five hundred Naira) drawn at different date in favour of Folashade Ogundipe with cheques from Zenith Bank Plc account number 1010529055 bearing the account name Imeko Cathedral Development Project Committee, under false pretence that you are using the money to develop Celestial Church of Christ, lmeko Cathedral, Ogun State, a representation that you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence
Section 1(1)(a) and punishable under section 1(3) both of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, Laws Of the t ration of Nigeria, 2010.
hat you Folashade Ogundipe (f) in 2006 and 2018 within the Lagos Judicial Division under false pretence and with intent to defraud, fraudulently obtained the sum of N4,500,000:00 (Four M