A 25-year old woman, Nkiruka Mbanaja was on Friday, 20 June, 2014, arraigned at an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for defrauding the priest of her former Catholic church.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Nkiruka along with a 33-year old man, Toyin Akindola, defrauded the priest the sum of N350,000 in May at Eleshin Street, Obalende, Lagos.
It was gathered that Nkiruka, who claimed to be a student of the Lagos State University (LASU), resides at No. 20, Ikotun Egbe Road, Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos, while Toyin, a businessman, lives at No. 37, Eleshin Street, Obalende, Lagos.
According to the report, the suspects are jointly facing charges of conspiracy and forgery, while Nkiruka faces separate charges of impersonation, obtaining under false pretences and stealing.
The two suspects, however, denied the charges.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Orikutan Lonikola, told the court that Nkiruka, who had earlier in February at Saints Phillip and James Catholic Church, Km. 18, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos, unlawfully impersonated one Ms. Fatima Hassan, forged an academic certificate of the University of Ilorin.
Lonikola said that Nkiruka, who had earlier worked as a secretary in the parish but was sacked for unspecified reasons in 2010, fraudulently obtained N350,000 from Rev. Fr. Francis Ogunmodede, the priest in-charge of the parish, through a series of phone calls asking for financial help.
The prosecutor said the police were able to apprehend Nkiruka through a sting operation.
He said that the offences violated sections 285, 312(1), 363(1), 378 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011 and that Section 312 prescribes 15 years imprisonment for anyone found guilty of the offence of obtaining under false pretence.
Meanwhile, before adjourning the case to July 10 for mention, the magistrate, Miss Mulikat Ali-Balogun, granted each of the accused bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties each in like sum.