Journalists barred from covering cleric’s alleged fraud case

The Chief Magistrate of Yaba Magistrate Court, Adeola Olatubosun, on Wednesday, barred journalists from covering the arraignment of a couple, Pastors Azuka and Mary Ohez, accused of N33,829,30m fraud.

Azuka and his wife, Mary, were accused of allegedly aiding to defraud a company, Climax Lubricant Industries, of the amount stated above.

They were alleged to have committed the offence by aiding the fraudulent act of one Chijoke Ezekirian through false prophecies.

They were arraigned on two counts of conspiracy and fraud preferred against them by the police.

When the case came up for arraignment, Magistrate Olatubosun sent journalists out of her court and then arraigned the couple behind closed doors.

The prosecutor, ASP Rita Momah, told the court that the duo and some others still at large, allegedly committed the offences on July 13, 2023 at Oba Ayoka Street, Lagos.

She alleged that the couple and Ezekirian conspired to steal and received proceeds of sales from Climax Lubricants Industries in Lagos.

Momah said that the couple knowingly received the total sum of N33.8m through a Fidelity Bank KPICPC account numbers 2033723459 and 5600923549 from Chijioke Ezekirian.

According to the prosecutor, the offences committed contravened Sections 411, 328 (1), of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

However, the couple pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The defence counsel, A. J. Alagbu, urged the court to grant them bail in the liberal term, with no taxpayer conditions.

The prosecutor did not oppose the request but urged the court to give a stringent condition that would not make them jump bail.

Olatubosun granted the couple bail in the sum of N10m, each, with two sureties each in like sum.

She ordered that the one of the sureties must have a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction.

She also ordered the court’s registrar to verify the sureties’ addresses.

She however, remanded the pastor at the Ikoyi correctional centre and the wife at the Kirikiri female prison, pending when they are able to fulfil their bail conditions.

Consequently, Olatunbosun adjourned the case till May, 13, 2024, for mention.


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