The Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon, Lagos, on Monday arraigned three Celestial Church of Christ leaders before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja over alleged N85m fraud.
The defendants – John Omotosho aka Jorotom, Boye Olaniyan and Folashade Ogundipe – were arraigned on four counts bordering on conspiracy, obtaining under false pretences and fraud before Justice Ayokunle Faji.
The defendants, who were arraigned alongside a company, Folafunmi Integrated Limited, were alleged to have defrauded the church’s headquarters at Imeko, Ogun State, of the sum of N85,914,500, under the pretext of using the money for the church’s development.
The offences were said to be 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.
According to the police prosecutor, C.J. Ijeoma, the defendants issued several Zenith Bank Plc cheques, which were used in withdrawing money from the church’s development project account domiciled with the bank.
The charges read in part, “That you, John Omotosho, Folashade Ogundipe, Boye Olaniyan and Folafunmi Integrated Limited, between 2006 and 2018, within the Lagos Judicial Division of the court, with an intent to defraud the Celestial Church of Christ, fraudulently obtained the sum of N79,154,500 drawn at different dates 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 pretences that you are using the money to develop Celestial Church of Christ, lmeko Cathedral, Ogun State, a representation that you knew to be false, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 1(3) both of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.”