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Pastor Ayodeji Oluokun of RCCG Gets Two Year Jail Term for $1.6 million Scam

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Pastor Ayodeji Oluokun
Pastor Ayodeji Oluokun

By Uche Amunike

An Assistant Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, Pastor Ayodeji Oluokun has just been sent to two years  imprisonment by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Special Offenses Court, for the issuance of a $1.6 million dud cheque.

Pastor Ayodeji Oluokun’s company, Peak Petroleum Industry Nigeria Limited, was charged was also charged alongside him, on an amended six-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining money under false pretenses and issuance of dud cheque.

In her judgment, Justice Taiwo held that the prosecution had shown proof of the charge of issuance of dud cheque against the defendants and therefore, discharged and acquainted the defendants of stealing and obtaining money under false pretenses.

Her submission: ‘The defendant issued two cheques in the sum of $1.6 million to the nominal complainant, which was dishonoured because there was no fund in the defendant’s account.’

‘Issuance of cheque for lack of credit is a strict liable offence. 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 knew all of these and still went ahead to issue the cheque dated  June 24, 2014.’

‘It is hereby, in the view of this court, that the defendants was deliberate in issuing the dud cheque,’ she said

‘He is hereby found guilty of counts one and two of issuance of dud cheque.’

‘The defendants, however, are discharged and acquainted of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences as the prosecution failed to establish the facts against them,’ she concluded.

She thereafter sentenced the first defendant to two years imprisonment and an option of a N2 million Naira fine, while the second defendant got a fine of N2 million.

The court also demanded that Pastor Ayodeji  Oluokun makes restitution of $1.6million to the nominal complainant in the space of 18 months.

The defence counsel, Edoka Onyeke, on his part, pleaded that the court should grant Pastor Ayodeji Oluokun a non-custodian sentence on the grounds that he was a pastor and that by virtue of his pastoral work, he served humanity through community service.

Hear him: ‘My lord, apart from the defendants 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 custodian sentence so as to preach the words of God.

‘On a final note, the defendant has promised to involve the nominal complainant in order to make the restitution,’ he pleaded.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Samuel Daji has however submitted that the court should convict the defendants as charged because the terms of restitution would be difficult to meet, as both the convict and the nominal complainant were not on talking terms, also adding that the court should order the defendant to forfeit his property, so as to pay his debt.

His words: ‘My lord, from the evidence before this court, the defendant is not committed. It has been nine good years my lord.’

‘A dollar was N150 at the time the loan was granted to the defendants. The defendant does not even greet the nominal complainant  unless it is utmost necessary.’

‘There is an evidence before the  court that the defendant was not ready to settle this case.’

‘The defence counsel said he is a pastor. My lord, the more reason he should be given a custodian sentence in order to serve as deterrent to others.’

‘The court has stated mandatory sentence. We shall be asking for restitution. I shall be urging the court to order the defendant to forfeit his property so as to use it to pay his debt,’ Daji said.

Daji counseled that the $1.6 million Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria cheque issued by Pastor Ayodeji Oluokun to GOSL Nigeria Limited was dishonored on the grounds of insufficient funds in the account from which it was drawn. This, he said, contravened Sections 1(1)(b) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D 11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and 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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