Sade Otenuga, 40, was sentenced to 12 years in jail by an Ekiti State High Court, Ado Ekiti Division, for fraud and stealing.
The woman claimed to possess a building that she later sold to the Deeper Life Bible Church.
On count one (fraud), the court sentenced her to seven years in prison and five years on count two (stealing).
The court offered a fine alternative of N20,000 for count two, notwithstanding the fact that the two sentences would run concurrently.
According to the two counts, the defendant obtained N620,000 from a DLBC pastor, Oso Olugbenga, in Ado Ekiti between April 6 and 8, 2021 with the intent to cheat, and also "during the same period did steal a sum of N620,000 belonging to the said Oso Olugbenga."
Sections 1(3) and 11 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, as well as Section 390 (9) of the Criminal Code, Cap. C16, Laws of Ekiti State of Nigeria, were violated.
"Between the 6th and 8th April, 2021, I transferred N620,000 to the woman who claimed to own a damaged building in the Dalimore area of Ado Ekiti," Olugbenga testified before the court.
The church decided to purchase the building, as it had become a hideout for criminals in the area. The woman also gave the church instruction to remove the building, not knowing that she was not the rightful owner. All efforts made to recover the money after the church discovered fraud in the transaction proved abortive.”
The police prosecutor, Samson Osobu, called three witnesses and tendered a written petition to the police, a letter to First Bank Nigeria Plc, the statement of the convict and N100,000 cash, among others, as exhibits.
Justice Lekan Ogunmoye said, “It is trite that where a statute prescribes mandatory sentence in clear terms, the courts are without jurisdiction to impose anything less than the prescribed mandatory sentence as no discretion exists in the court to exercise in the matter.
“The defendant is hereby sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment on count one, which will start running from the date of her remand in the correctional centre, Ado Ekiti. She is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on count two with N20,000 option of fine. The terms are to run concurrently.”©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.