A pastor, Afolabi Samuel, was on Wednesday sentenced to nine years in prison by an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos for stealing the sum of $90, 000 and N4.5 million, property of the Registered Trustees of the Living Faith Church, Cannanland, Ota, Ogun State (aka Winners Chapel).
Justice Mojisola Dada convicted and sentenced Pastor Samuel, who was a treasurer of the church, after he pleaded guilty to the criminal charges against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC had arraigned and commenced trial against the defendant, now convict, on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing.
However, after pronouncing the defendant guilty of the offence, Justice Dada said: “You, Afolabi Samuel, are hereby sentenced to three years in prison on count one, two and three of the charges of conspiracy and stealing.
“The prison sentence shall run concurrently and shall commence from November 29, 2019, which is the date of your first arraignment.
“You are hereby discharged on count four; having paid back the sum of N2.1m, property of Winners Chapel, which you dishonesty converted to your personal use.
“You are also to pay the sum of $90, 000 as restitution to the Church. And the EFCC shall take every legal step necessary to make sure that the defendant pays the money.
“I hereby also grant you a one million naira option of fine”.
Meanwhile, according to the EFCC prosecutor, S. O. Daji, the convict committed the alleged offences sometime in September 24 and December 31, 2018 in Lagos.
Daji, who presented a witness to testify against the convict, had earlier told the court that the offences contravened Sections 278, 285 and 490 of the Criminal law of Lagos State No. 11, 2011.
The prosecutor said that 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.
Daji further said that the pastor and Mrs Kolawole dishonestly converted the sum of $90, 000 and N4.5 million to their own personal use.