A Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja has sentenced Pastor Afolabi Samuel of the Living Faith Church aka Winners’ Chapel to three years’ imprisonment for stealing $90,000 and N4.5m belonging to the registered trustees of the church.
Justice Mojisola Dada found him guilty of two counts of conspiracy and stealing following prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The cleric, an accountant, was the church’s treasurer. Before the sentencing, he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty.
According to the EFCC, Samuel and a woman named Blessing Kolawole, an employee of Covenant University, who is currently at large, conspired and dishonestly stole the money and converted the same to their personal uses.
The anti-graft agency said Samuel, who was employed in the accounting department of the church to maintain proper records of funds, connived with Kolawole and others to take advantage of their position as the church’s treasurer and worker at the university, respectively.
The offences contravened sections 278, 285 and 490 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11, 2011.
Counsel for the convict Rotimi Ogunwuyi had urged the court to temper justice with mercy.
The counsel’s allocutus made the judge grant the convict an option of fine of N1million and ordered him to refund the sum of $90,000 and N2,358,000 to the church.