By Onozure Dania
Lagos—A Federal High Court in Lagos, yesterday, fixed January 16, 2017 for the trial of a Church General Overseer, Pastor Chris Anyalebechi, who allegedly defrauded his church member to the tune of N58 million.
Anyalebechi, the General Overseer of Christ Glory International Gospel Centre, situated at Lasunwon, opposite Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Lagos, was arraigned before the court by Special Fraud Unit, SFU, for conspiracy to defraud and obtaining under false pretence.
At the resumed trial of the matter yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr. Azubike Sylvester, informed the court that all his witnesses were in court, and urged the court for a very short adjournment to open his case against the accused.
However, lawyer to the accused, Mr. George Ibekwe, told the court that he was not opposing the adjournment sought by the prosecutor, but informed the court that he had not been served with the amended charge.
Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, adjourned the commencement of trial to January 16.
Earlier, the accused was arraigned before Justice Babs Kuewumi in August on the same count charge.
SFU in had alleged that the accused had, between April 2014 and March 2015, conspired with some other persons now at large and obtained the said sum from one Nestor Nwankwo of Zicozeen Nigeria Limited, on false pretence of buying used ship and selling same in parts or scraps on behalf of the company.
The offences according to SFU were contrary to Sections 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences, Act, 2006, and punishable under Section 1(1)(a)(3) of the same Act.
The accused had however pleaded not guilty to the charge, and he was admitted to bail but was unable to perfect his bail conditions.
Count two of the charge against the General Overseer reads: “That you, Pastor Chris Anyalebechi, General Overseer, Christ Glory International Gospel Centre, Ikorodu, Lagos, sometimes between April 2014 and March 2015, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, by false pretence and with intent to defraud, obtained N58 million from a company known as Nestor Nwankwo of Zicozeen Nigeria Limited, by representing to the company that you will purchase for the company a used ship or vessel and sell same in parts or scraps on behalf of the company, a representation you knew to be false.”