The presiding pastor of the Power of the Holy Ghost Evangelical Ministry in Lagos, Prophet Cletus Ilongwo, has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for defrauding his church member of N59.7 million.
Recall that in 2018, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrested and arraigned Ilongwo, for defrauding a member of his church after the member had reported a case of fraud against him to the tune of N 85 million.
According to the church member, Ilongwo’s action cost him his job in one of the first-generation banks in the country.
An Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos on Thursday September 22, found Ilongwo guilty of seven counts charges bordering on fraud and stealing.
Delivering judgment, Justice Sherifat Solebo ordered the forfeiture of the convict’s property situated at No. 3 Popoola Ajayi St., Diamond Estate in Amuwo Odofin, to the complainant.
“His Toyota Prado is also to be forfeited to the Federal Government as restitution to settle the complainant,” Solebo said.
The EFCC submitted that the Prophet on January 29, 2016, defrauded a former member of his congregation, one Mr Obinna Ezenwaka.
The counsel to the anti-graft agency, Nwandu Ukoha, told the court that Ilongwo collected the sum in tranches through his bank.
Ukoha said that the convict received the amount from Ezenwaka on different occasions in 2016 on the pretext of helping him to purchase a property located at 165c Diamond Estate, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos.
The defence counsel, Mr Albert Imolodia, in his allocutus, informed the court that the convict was a first-time offender.
“He is a family man who has people that rely on him for their survival. We pray the court to temper justice with mercy,” Imolodia said.
The EFCC counsel, however, urged the court to give the convict the maximum sentence as required by law and a restitution order in line with the Advance Fee Fraud Act.