LAGOS— The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, re‑arraigned three pastors for allegedly defrauding Angel Estate Residents Association in Amuwo‑Odofin, Lagos of N7.9 million.
The defendants, David Eshiet (44), Samson Ugbara (47) and Adesanmi Aderoju (43), were re‑arraigned before Justice Kudirat Jose of an Ikeja High Court.
They are facing a six‑count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and uttering.
The defendants were previously arraigned on March 13, 2013 before Justice Olabisi Akinlade.
The trio had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail in the sum of N500,000 each.
During proceedings, the EFCC counsel, Mr Ben Ubi, said the re‑arraignment was necessitated by Akinlade’s transfer out of the criminal division.
Ubi asked the court to order the defendants to re‑take their plea and his request was granted.
He alleged that the defendants had conspired to fraudulently obtain N4 million and $25,000 (N3.9 million) from the complainants.
The prosecutor said the money was obtained on October 27, 2011 under the guise of helping the complainants to source a loan of $100 million.
He said the association wanted the loan to finance some community projects and that the defendants had obtained the sums as processing charges.
Ubi also accused the defendants of forging various documents which were used in facilitating the fraud.
According to him, after collecting the money, the defendants failed to secure the loan as promised, which led the complainants to petition the EFCC.
All the defendants, again, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following the re‑arraignment, their Counsel, Mr F.O. Udokporoh, urged the court to allow them to enjoy the bail earlier granted to them by the former judge.