A Lagos State High Court has sentenced popular prophet and Shepherd-in-charge of Celestial Church of Christ Global Genesis Parish, Israel Oladele Ogundipe aka Israel Genesis, to two years imprisonment for defrauding a United Kingdom-based woman, Mrs. Olaide Williams-Oni.
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.
In her testimony, Williams-Oni had told the court that she met the prophet in 2002 during her visit to Nigeria when she was taken to his church for prayers by her step-sister.
Justice Akinlade, in a judgment that lasted for about four hours, sentenced the defendant, Prophet Oladele, to a year imprisonment on count two and four.
The presiding judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade found the clergyman guilty of two of the seven charges brought against him and dismissed the remaining five over lack of evidence.
Akinlade ordered that he should pay the complainant the sum of N11m, which he illegally obtained from her.
“Both sentences are to run concurrently and the defendant is to restitute the complainant the sum of N2.5mi in respect of count two (stealing) and N8.5million in respect of count 4 (unlawful conversion of property not delivered),” the judge said.
Following the judgment, Rotimi Odutola, lead prosecuting counsel for Lagos State, thanked the court for the ruling.
According to the prosecution, Ogundipe committed the offence between August 30, 2002 and 2005.
During that period, he is alleged to have fraudulently obtained N14m and £12,000 in various tranches from the complainant.
Between August 30, 2002 and December 2003 at 32, Bello St Ladipo Estate, Shogunle, Lagos, he allegedly received N2.9m 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, he stole £12,000 from the complainant, which was meant for the purchase of four plots of land for building a mosque.
He is alleged to have stolen N8.5m between October 2002 and March 2003 from Williams-Oni for the purchase of landed properties in Lagos, Odutola revealed.
The prosecution also noted that on diverse days between 2002 and 2003, he had received N2.6m from the complainant by falsely representing to her that he is a man of God and that the money was to be used for his church.