A popular preacher and televangelist, Israel Ogindipe, has been jailed two years by an Ikeja High Court for stealing and the unlawful conversion of a woman’s s property.
Israel, prevalently known for his philanthropic undertakings, is the head of Genesis Parish of the Celestial Church of Christ, Alagbado, Lagos, has been on trial since 2011 on seven count charges of obtaining by stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretences, unlawful conversion of property and forgery.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Olabisi Akinlade, the defendant was exonerated from five counts of stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretences, giving false information to a public officer and forgery, but, the court found the prophet guilty of two counts of stealing and unlawful conversion of property not delivered and sentenced him to a year in prison on each count.
In addition, the judge ordered Israel Ogundipe to pay the complainant, a London-based architect named Mrs Oladele Williams-Oni, the sum of N11 million, an amount he was alleged to have illegally obtained from her.
Both sentences are to run concurrently and the defendant is to restitute the complainant the sum of N2.5million 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, Mrs Rotimi Odutola, the lead prosecuting counsel for Lagos State thanked the court for the judgment.
According to the prosecution, Ogundipe committed between Aug. 30, 2002, and 2005.
During that period, he is alleged to have fraudulently obtained N14 million and £12,000 in various tranches from the complainant.
Between Aug 30, 2002, and December 2003, at 32, Bello St Ladipo Estate, Shogunle, Lagos, he allegedly received N2.9million 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 Bereau De Change, Broad Street, Lagos, he stole 12,000 British pounds from the complainant which was meant for the purchase of four plots of land for building a mosque.
He is alleged to have stolen N8.5 million between October 2002 and March 2003 from Williams-Oni for the purchase of landed properties in Lagos,” Odutola said.
The prosecution also noted that on diverse days between 2002 and 2003 he had received N2.6 million from the complainant by falsely representing to her that he is a man of God and that the money is to be used for his church.
“Ogundipe also forged a Nigerian International Passport which carried his photo in the name Sanyaolu Babatunde Solomon at the Passport Office located at Oba Akinjobi St. Ikeja, Lagos,”
Odutola said. The offences contravenes Sections 390(9), 419 and 467(1)(b) of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos 2003.