An Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State on Friday admitted a self-acclaimed bishop, Bankole Jefferson, to a N1.5 million bail charged with N9 million fraud.The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Yewande Aje-Afunwa, who gave the ruling, granted the accused two sureties in like sum.Aje-Afunwa directed that the sureties must show evidence of payment of three years tax to the Lagos State Government.
The accused, 54, bishop of Mercy Tabernacle Church, Ogba, Lagos, is standing trial on a three-count charge of conspiracy, fraud and stealing.Earlier, the Prosecutor, Insp. Peter Nwangwu told the court that Jefferson committed the offences sometime in January in Ogba, Lagos.Nwangwu said the accused obtained the money from the complainant, Mr Akinyemi Adebayo on the pretext of supplying diesel.According to him, the accused committed the offences by conspiring with others still at large.
“The complainant reported the case to the police who later discovered after series of investigations that the accused is fraudulent.
“Jefferson avoided being arrested by travelling to the U.S. on an unknown mission.
“The accused, on his return, was apprehended by the police and while trying to defend himself claimed that the money he collected from the complainant was for offering in the church.
“The accused converted the money to personal use and all efforts to recover the money proved abortive,’’ Nwangwu said.
The offences contravened Sections 287, 314 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Section 287 provides a three-year jail term for stealing, while Section 411 stipulates two years for conspiracy.
The accused, however, entered a not ‘guilty plea’ and his lawyer applied for bail on liberal terms.
The case was adjourned until Nov. 20.