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How Prophet duped church members of N54.5m

Founder of Power of the Holy Ghost Evangelical Ministry, Prophet Cletus Ilongwo, was on Monday tried before an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos, for allegedly defrauding a church member of N54.5 million.

Ilongwo was arraigned on an 11-count charge of fraud preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ilongwo was arrested by EFCC on Saturday at the church premises in Shoba community, Abule-Ado, Lagos, over allegations of fraudulent schemes made against him by some members of his congregation.

According to the EFCC prosecutor, Ilongwo committed the offences between January and April 2016.

According to one of the charges, Ilongwo collected N13.5 million from a man, Obinna Ezenwaka, on the pretext that he would help him purchase a property located at 165c, Diamond Estate, Amuwo Odofin.

The EFCC further alleged that the prophet collected N10 million from Ezenwaka also under the pretext of purchasing the same property, but failed to do so.

During the period, Ilongwo allegedly collected N10 million, N7 million, N3 million, and N150,000 among others at different times from Ezenwaka through his Zenith Bank account 1003455899.

However, Ilongwo, dressed in a long red robe during proceedings in court denied the allegations.

After his not guilty plea, the defence lawyer, P.N. Orji, informed the court about a pending bail application filed on behalf of the defendant.

The EFCC prosecutor, Ahmed Yerima, however, did not oppose but asked for time to respond to the application.

The presiding judge, Justice Sherifat Solebo, in ruling adjourned the matter till November 14 and 19, for hearing of the bail application and commencement of trial.

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