The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Monday, arraigned a pastor of the Living Faith Church (Winners’ Chapel), Afolabi Samuel, for allegedly stealing $90,000 and N4.5m belonging to the registered trustees of the church.
Samuel, who is an accountant and the church’s treasurer, was arraigned before the Lagos State Special Offences Court on two counts of conspiracy and stealing.
It was gathered that the pastor and one Blessing Kolawole, an employee of the Covenant University, who is currently at large, conspired and dishonestly stole the money and converted the same to their personal uses.
In the petition to the EFCC, signed by Chioma Okwuanyi and Co, legal practitioners, Samuel, who was employed in the account department of the church to maintain proper records of funds, allegedly connived with Kolawole and others to take advantage of their position as the church’s treasurer and worker at the university, respectively.
The petition read in part, “The duo started carrying out various acts of breach of trust and fraudulent commission of unconscionable economic crime and sabotage by unlawfully diverting to their private use the church’s money in Pastor Samuel’s custody without the permission of the church.
“The duo continued doing so until they ran out of luck and all their secret acts of economic sabotage and financial crime of fraudulently tampering with the church’s money were revealed.
“When confronted by the church, Pastor Samuel, who lives around the church on Raji Oba Street, Akowonjo, Lagos, admitted to committing the act and even voluntarily made a written confession where he detailed how they had been stealing from the church.”
The EFCC prosecutor, S. O. Daji, said Samuel committed the offences sometime on September 24 and December 31, 2018, in Lagos.
According to him, the offences contravene sections 278, 285 and 490 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11, 2011.
The presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Dada, remanded him at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre and adjourned the matter till December 10, 2019, for the hearing of the bail application.