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Pastor jailed 5 years over N300m fraud

By Bamidele Kolawole

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An Akure Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting at Oke-Eda, has convicted and sentenced a 57-year-old pastor, Rufus Idowu Famusipe, to five years imprisonment over N300 million fraud.

The convict was arraigned on eight counts, which included conspiracy, conversion and fraud.

Magistrate Temilola Olusola-Olujobi, in her judgment, handed down the sentence after Famusipe pleaded guilty to the offences levelled against him.

At his arraignment, the prosecutor, Mr Taiwo Oniyere, told the court that the convict was arrested by police officers on October 15, 2023, following a complaint by the concerned family.

The charge read in part,”That you,  Rufus Idowu Famusipe, between year 2009 and 2011, at various times at the Court of Appeal Estate, in Akure in the Akure Magisterial District, did fraudulently sell seventy-one (71) plots of land without the consent of members of the Ojomu Onitini family who are the rightful owners of the landed property valued at Three Hundred Million Naira (300,000,000) only and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 419 and punishable under Section 419 of the Criminal Code Cap. 37 Vol.1 Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.

“That you,   Rufus Idowu Famusipe ‘M’ in the same month and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did unlawfully convert to your own use the sum of seven million, naira (N7,000,000)only,  being the proceed of some parcels of land on Block E plots 1,2,3,4 and 5, you sold without the consent of late Omotoso Ibitoye or any of his family members and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 383 and punishable under Section 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Cap. 37 Vol.1 Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.”

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The convict admitted committing the offences and pleaded guilty to the charges.

Following his guilty plea, the prosecutor reviewed the facts of the offences and urged the court to convict and sentence him based on his pleas, exhibits tendered and in line with Section 274(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

After several court proceedings and series of arguments by the prosecuting and defence counsels, the trial magistrate, Temilola Olusola-Olujobi said the prosecution proved the case of conspiracy and fraud against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt.

Olusola-Olujobi, in her verdict, sentenced the convict accordingly.

But the lawyer to the convict, Olubunmi Adodo, based on his client’s plea for mercy, begged the court to give him a fine option in lieu of the custodian sentence.

On count 1, the court sentenced the convict to 9 months with N20,000 fine, 6 months imprisonment on count 2, with N20,000 option of fine, while on count 3, he was given 9 months imprisonment with option of N20,000 fine.

Also on count 4, the court sentenced the convict to 6 months imprisonment with N20,000 option of fine.

He was jailed 6 months on count 5 or an option of N3.1million compensation. Also on count 6, he was awarded a jail term of 6 months or N1million compensation.

On counts 7, he was given 6 months with an option of N20,000 fine. However on count 8, he was sentenced to 6 months in jail without an option of fine.

She said the sentences should run concurrently and the fines paid commutative.

According to her, “When compensation paid before and of imprisonment, his term of imprisonment shall be vacated.

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“The defendant is at liberty after serving terms of imprisonment to give the satisfaction of the court security of the said compensation in whole or installment. Evidence of payment of fine or compensation to be documented in court record.”

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