Pastor Ayodeji Ibrahim Oluokun was convicted and sentenced to two-years in prison by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offences Court located in Ikeja, Lagos.
On Tuesday, September 21, 2022, the associate pastor of City of David Parish, Victoria Island’s Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), was imprisoned.
Oluokun was found guilty after being charged on January 19, 2019, with six revised counts related to issuing fake checks, theft, and collecting money under false pretenses totaling $1.6 million by the Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC, together with his company, Peak Petroleum Industry Nigeria Limited.
In her ruling, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo stated that the prosecution had successfully proven the charge of issuing a fake cheque against the defendants.
Taiwo, however, discharged and acquitted the defendants of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.
“The defendant issued two cheques in the sum of 1.6 million dollars to the nominal complainant, which was dishonoured because there was no fund in the defendant’s account. Issuance of a cheque for lack of credit is a strictly liable offence,” said Taiwo.
“If the defendant was truly expecting some money till the end of July 2014 as claimed by him, he would have waited till he received the money before issuing the cheque on June 24, 2014,”
The first defendant, according to the judge, was aware of all of these facts but yet issued the cheque dated June 24, 2014.
“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,” she said.
The first defendant received a sentence of two years in prison or a fine of N2 million, and the second defendant received N2 million fine.
She mandated that the convicted party pay 1.6 million dollars in restitution to the nominal complainant within 18 months.
In his allocutus, the defense attorney, Mr. Edoka Onyeke, pleaded with the court to give the defendant a non-custodial sentence, pointing out that the man was a pastor and could use his position as a pastor to serve humanity by performing community service.
“My lord, apart from the defendant being a first offender, if he is incarcerated, he will not be able to carry out the necessary things on behalf of the second defendant so as to make the restitution easy.
“The first defendant is a pastor of a church. This is a very good opportunity for him to engage in community service instead of a custodian sentence so as to preach the word of God. On a final note, the defendant has promised to involve the nominal complainant in order to make the restitution,” Onyeke said
Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Samuel Daji, however, urged the court to convict the defendants as charged.
He argued that the convict and the nominal complainant had not been on talking terms, thereby making the terms of restitution difficult to meet.
He also prayed the court to order the defendant to forfeit his property in order to pay up the debt.