These are not the best of times for a 70-year-old man of the cloth as he has been docked for allegedly duping a businesswoman of N870,000.
The clergyman, Emmanuel Bello, on Monday appeared in an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court in Lagos in a case of alleged fraud.
Bello, who resides in Idimu, Lagos State, was charged with three counts of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretences and stealing.
The defendant and others, at large, were said to have committed the offence on 2nd March 2021 at Council area of Idimu, Lagos State.
The Prosecution Counsel, Insp Mojirade Edeme, told the court that the defendant fraudulently obtained the money from Mrs Bilikisu Olabisi, with a promise to supply “spiritual oil “ for the washing and cleaning of dollar notes.“
But after the defendant allegedly collected the money, he was said to have absconded, while all efforts made by the businesswoman to retrieve her money were abortive.
The prosecutor continuing his testimony said, “The complainant reported the case and the defendant was eventually arrested.”
The offence, he said, was in contravention of the provisions of sections 287, 314 and 419 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
While section 287 of the Lagos State criminal law states that: “Any person who steals any property commits a felony and is liable on conviction, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for three (3) years;” section 314 states in part that “any person who by any false pretence, and with intent to defraud: (a) obtains, from any other person, in the State or in any other State for himself or any other person; (b) induces any other person, in the State or in any other State, to deliver to any person, any property, whether or not the property is obtained or its delivery is induced through the medium of a contract induced by the false pretence commits an offence.”
Section 411 of the Lagos state criminal law states:
“Any person who conspires with another to commit any felony in the State, or to do any act outside the State which if done in the State would be a felony, and which is an offence under the Laws in force in the place where it is proposed to be done, commits a felony.”
The Magistrate, O.O Raji, then admitted the defendant to a N100,000 bail and a surety in the same amount.
The surety, the magistrate said, should be gainfully employed and show evidence of two years of tax payment to the Lagos State Government(LASG).
The magistrate adjourned hearing to 20th October 2021.