By Adebisi Onanuga
An Ikeja High Court has sentenced a popular televangelist and head of Genesis Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ, Alagbado, Lagos, Isreal Ogundipe, to two years imprisonment for unlawfully converting a woman’s property and stealing.
He fraudulently obtained N14 million and £12,000 in several tranches from the complainant.
Ogundipe, who has been on trial since 2011, was charged with seven counts of obtaining by stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretences, unlawful conversion of property and forgery.
Justice Olabisi Akinlade found Ogundipe guilty of two of the seven-count charge and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment on each of the counts.
He would, however, spend one year in prison as the sentence will run concurrently.
Justice Akinlade ordered the convict to make restitution of N11 million to the complainant, a London-based architect, Mrs Oladele Williams-Oni on counts two and four.
The lead prosecuting counsel, Mrs Rotimi Odutola, thanked the court for “a well-considered judgment”.
According to the prosecution, Ogundipe committed the crime between August 30, 2002, and 2005.
The convict was also said to have between August 30, 2002, and December 2003, at No. 32, Bello St., Ladipo Estate, Shogunle, Lagos allegedly collected N2.9million from Williams-Oni to purchase an uncompleted building for her but fraudulently converted the money to his own use.
The prosecution said that between March and December 2003 at Commint Bureau De Change, Broad Street, Lagos, the convict allegedly stole 12,000 British pounds from the complainant, which was meant for the purchase of four plots of land for building a mosque.
He is alleged to have stolen N8.5million between October 2002 and March 2003 from Williams-Oni for the purchase of landed properties in Lagos.
“The prosecution also said that on diverse days between 2002 and 2003 he had received N2.6million from the complainant by falsely representing to her that he is a man of God and that the money is to be used for his church.
“The convict was also alleged to have forged a Nigerian International Passport which carried his photo in the name of Sanyaolu Babatunde Solomon at the Passport Office at Oba Akinjobi St., Ikeja, Lagos,” Odutola said.
According to the prosecution, the offences contravenes Sections 390(9), 419 and 467(1)(b) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos 2003.