The long arm of the law has caught up with a Lagos-based prophetess, Linda Mabi-Praise, for allegedly defrauding a company of N503.3m in an alleged Automotive Gas Oil deal.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned her in Lagos on Wednesday
Mabi-Praise, who is said to be a prophetess at the Temple of Praise Church on Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere, Lagos, was arraigned before a Lagos State Special Offences Court on eight counts bordering on stealing, obtaining under false pretences and issuance of dud cheques.
Mabi-Praise and her company, Mutano Energy Limited, according to the EFCC prosecutor, Frank Ofoma, committed the offences sometime in 2017 in Lagos.
She was alleged to have received the said sum in five tranches from the complainant, Tophara Ventures Nigeria Limited, and subsequently issued three dud cheques to the company.
Ofoma said: “On April 4, 2017, the defendants fraudulently obtained the sum of N80m from Tophara Ventures Nigeria Limited by falsely representing to the company that the money was for diesel importation.
“On April 24, 2017, the defendants falsely obtained N238.2m from the complainant by claiming that it was for the purpose of diesel trade and supply.
“On April 24, 2017, the defendants dishonestly stole and converted N137.1m belonging to the complainant to their personal use; and sometime in 2017, Mabi-Praise also stole N48m from Tophara Ventures Nigeria Limited.”
Ofoma added that the prophetess and her firm, with intent to defraud, had on May 3, 2017, issued three United Bank for Africa Plc cheques to Tophara Ventures.
The first cheque, with number 77148231, was dated October 30, 2015; while the second cheque, with number 77148216, was dated May 3, 2017, and both were for N5m each.
The defendants on May 3, 2017, allegedly issued a third cheque with 77148217 for N10m.
All three cheques were reportedly dishonoured upon presentation for payment.
According to the EFCC, the offences contravene sections 1(1) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act of 2006, and sections 258(1), 9(b) and 278(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2015.
The offences, according to the anti-graft agency, also contravene Section 1(1) of the Dishonoured Cheques and Other Related Offences Act, 2004.
The prophetess had earlier been arraigned before the court for defrauding a lawyer, Unoma Omo, of N165.5m, and has a pending arraignment before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo.