A Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday sentenced a lagos-based prophet named Cletus Ilongwo to seven years imprisonment for defrauding his church member of N59.7m
The Presiding Pastor of the Power of the Holy Ghost Evangelical Ministry was found guilty of seven counts of fraud and stealing.
In her ruling, Justice Sherifat Solebo ordered the forfeiture of the convict’s property situated at No. 3 Popoola Ajayi St., Diamond Estate in Amuwo Odofin to the complainant.
“His Toyota Prado is also to be forfeited to the Federal Government as restitution to settle the complainant,” Solebo said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) submitted that the convict on January 29, 2016, defrauded a former member of his congregation, Obinna Ezenwaka.
EFCC counsel, Nwandu Ukoha, told the court that Mr Ilongwo collected the sum in tranches through his Zenith Bank account 1003455899.
Mr Ukoha said that the convict received the amount from Mr Ezenwaka on different occasions in 2016 on the pretext of helping him to purchase a property located at 165c Diamond Estate, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos.
The defence counsel, Albert Imolodia, in his allocutus, informed the court that the convict was a first time offender.
“He is a family man who has people that rely on him for their survival. We pray the court to temper justice with mercy,” Mr Imolodia said.
The EFCC counsel, however, urged the court to give the convict maximum sentence as required by law and a restitution order in line with the Advance Fee Fraud Act.
The convict was said to have dishonestly converted for his own use the sum of money, being money received through his Zenith Bank account number 1003495899 from the complainant which was meant for the purchase of the property situated at No 165c, Block 12, Diamond Estate, Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos.