An Assistant Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, Pastor Ayodeji Oluokun, was on Wednesday sentenced to two years imprisonment for issuing a $1.6 million dud cheque.
The court, presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, arrived at the decision even as she held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charge of issuance of dud cheque against the defendants.
Pastor Oluokun was brought before Justice Taiwo alongside his company, Peak Petroleum Industry Nigeria Limited on an amended six-count charge bordering on the issuance of dud cheques, stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.
Justice Taiwo, however, acquitted and discharged the defendants of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.
The judge held, “The defendant issued two 1.6 million dollar cheques to the nominal complainant, which were dishonoured because there were no funds in the defendant’s account.
“Issuance of cheque lacking credit is a strictly liable offence. If the defendant was truly expecting some money until the end of July 2014 as claimed by him, he would have waited until he received the money before issuing the cheque on June 24, 2014.”
While insisting that the convicted and jailed clergyman knew all of these and still went ahead to issue the cheque dated June 24, 2014, Justice Taiwo declared, “It is hereby in the view of this court that the defendant was deliberate in issuing the dud cheque.
“He is hereby found guilty of counts one and two of issuance of dud cheque. The defendants, however, are discharged and acquitted of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences, as the prosecution failed to establish the facts against them.”
Justice Taiwo sentenced the first defendant to two years in prison or payment of a fine of N2 million, and the second defendant to a fine of N2 million.
The court also mandated the convicted cleric to make restitution of 1.6 million dollars to the nominal complainant within 18 months.
According to the anti-graft agency, the offences contravened Sections 1(1) (b) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D 11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Section 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State and Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences.
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