Nigerian Pastor Imprisoned over Issuance of $1.6m Bounced Cheque

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An assistant pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David Parish, Victoria Island, Ayodeji Oluokun has reportedly been sentenced to two years imprisonment for issuing 1.6 million dollar bounced cheque.

An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday charged Oluokun alongside his company, Peak Petroleum Industry Nigeria Ltd., on an amended six-count charge bordering on the issuance of a dud cheque, stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.

According to Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, in her judgment, she held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charge of issuance of a dud cheque against the defendants.

The defendants were discharged and acquitted of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.

“The defendant issued two cheques in the sum of 1.6 million dollars to the nominal complainant, which was dishonoured because there was no fund in the defendant’s account.

“Issuance of a cheque for lack of credit is a strictly 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,” Taiwo stated.

The judge said the first defendant knew all of these and still went ahead to issue the cheque dated June 24, 2014.

The judge thereafter sentenced the first defendant to two years in prison or payment of a fine of N2 million, and the second defendant to a fine of N2 million.

She ordered the convict to make restitution of 1.6 million dollars to the nominal complainant within 18 months.

The defence counsel, Mr Edoka Onyeke, in his allocutus, prayed the court to grant the convict a non-custodial sentence, adding that he was a pastor and could use his pastoral work as service to humanity, through community service.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Samuel Daji, however, urged the court to convict the defendants as charged.

He argued that the convict and the nominal complainant had not been on talking terms, thereby making the terms of restitution difficult to meet.

He also prayed the court to order the defendant to forfeit his property in order to pay up the debt.

The EFCC counsel had submitted that the defendant issued a Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd. cheque of 1.6 million dollars payable to GOSL Nigeria Ltd.

He said when presented for payment, the cheque was dishonoured on the ground that there were no sufficient funds standing to the credit of the account on which the cheque was drawn.

Meanwhile, the offences 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.