A 58 year-old man, Abel Adewale Olukayode, who claimed to be a cleric with a Lagos branch of the Apostolic Church, was today, convicted and sentenced to four years and six months by an Igbosere Chief Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, for defrauding WEMA Bank Plc, of the sum of N984. 4 million.
Magistrate (Mrs.) A. T Omoyele, who presided over the court, sentenced the self-acclaimed cleric, after finding him guilty of fraud offences made against him by police.
While delivering the judgment in the criminal charge, Magistrate Omoyele said she found the convict guilty of all the charges, and accordingly sentenced him to six months imprisonment, for the first count and two years each for counts two and three without an option of fine.
She said that the jail term is to run concurrently.
The convict, a resident of 26, Sadiku Ayinla Street, Odo-kekere in Ikorodu was arraigned before the court on November 22, 2012, on a a three count charge bordering on stealing preferred against him by the police.
Olukayode who was 52 years old when he was arraigned, had pleaded not guilty to the charge, and he was admitted to bail.
The Prosecutor Sergeant Cyriacus Osuji during arraingment had told the court that the convict committed the offence between March 5 at about 4pm and March 6, at about 7am, in 2012, with the aid of his mobile phone.
He said “Olukayode with the aid of his mobile phone with sim number 08034456771, stole the sum of N22,550, through his Wema Bank account, property of Wema Bank plc.”
Osuji said ” the convict at the same time and place with the aid of his mobile banking transferred the sum of N701,900, from Wema Bank to his GTB Bank account and N260,000 to his First Bank account property of Wema Bank plc”.
According to the prosecutor the offences committed are contrary to 278 (2), and Punishable Under Sections 285 of the Criminal laws of Lagos State 2011.
During trial a witness from the bank had told the court that between March 4-6, 2012, the bank’s system malfunctioned, and the convict who was running a joint account with his wife, then and had only N300 in his account at that time, took advantage of the situation to steal the said amount.
The witness also said that immediately the convict noticed the malfunction in the system of the bank, he started buying airtime which accumulated to N22,550 and there after transferred the other amounts to his GTB bank and First Bank accounts.
The bank had further stated that though he wasn’t the only one that took advantage of the situation but that when he was approached he said that he wasn’t going to return the money as it was his prayers that was answered by God, adding that he has been praying and asking God to provide for him to enable him build his own Church.
According to the Bank other people who also took advantage of the situation were approached and they have started paying back the money, but Olukayode refused to pay back.