An Ekiti State High Court in Ado Ekiti on Thursday sentenced two men, a 63-year-old cleric, Rt. Rev. Adereti Ebenezar and 68-year-old chief Akinyede Joseph, to three years in prison each for conspiracy and other crimes.
They were arraigned before Judge Lekan Ogunmoye on October 18, 2021 on four counts bordering on conspiracy, forgery, false affidavit and unauthorized document making.
According to the charge, Joseph and Ebenezar on January 10, 2016 at Ilado Street, Iwore, Ifaki Ekiti, “conspired to falsify the minutes of the meeting of the registered trustees of the United Church Organization of Cherubim and Seraphim.”
They were also accused of making “false representations that they were appointed as members of the Registered Trustees of the church and also made an amended constitution of the Registered Trustees of the church without legal authority.
According to the prosecutor, Gbemiga Adaramola, the offenses were in contravention of sections 516, 467, 191 and 473 of the Penal Code Cap C16, Vol.1, Laws of the State of Ekiti Nigeria, 2012.
In his statement to police, one of the trustees, Faseyi Albert, said: “I was appointed along with others as the Church Board of Trustees in 2001, the appointment was sent to the Corporate Affairs Commission for ratification.
“After the death of the Primate and Archbishop of the Church, Monsignor SA Fadeyi, the Bishop in council accordingly ratified the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Tunde Ogunseemi as the organization’s new Primate/Archbishop in 2015.
“During the hand search conducted by CAC, it was discovered that the Rt. Rev. Adereti Ebenezer, who was the 3rd Archbishop of the Church and Chief Akinyede Joseph, had tampered with some documents indicating that the trustees were having a meeting and the decision was taken. decision to remove the name of Most Rev. Tunde Ogunseemi, the minutes of the same meeting were falsified, among others. and presented to the CAC.
“It is also alleged that I was present at the meeting. The matter was later reported to the police for investigation and action, he said.
The prosecutor, Adaramola, called five witnesses and submitted the petition to the CAC, a release of the letter of appointment, extracts from the meeting, a letter from the Conference of Secretaries General to the Archbishops, and a statement from the defendants, among others, as evidence.
In the defense, the defendant, who spoke through his lawyer, Ayotunde Ibitoye, called four witnesses and, nevertheless, pleaded with the court to moderate justice with leniency.
In their sentencing, Judge Lekan Ogunmoye, who said there was overwhelming evidence before the court that the defendants conspired together to forge the signatures of the Board of Trustees member and the minutes of the Registered Trustees’ meeting, discharged them and he acquitted them on charge three (false statement).
Ogunmoye, however, pronounced: “The defendants are sentenced to one year in prison each on counts one, two and four (conspiracy, forgery and making a document without authorization) with a fine option of N20,000. , in each of the charges. . The sentences must run concurrently”.