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CRIME

Cleric, 55, docked over fake prophecy, N1.7m fraud

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A 55-year-old cleric, Nelson Foni, was arraigned at a Kafanchan Magistrates’ Court in Kaduna State on Friday for giving false prophesy and duping a congregant, Edith Emmanuel, of N1.7 million.

The cleric faced a three-count charge of extortion, criminal breach of trust and cheating, punishable by the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, 2017.

State counsel, Alheri Daudu, told the court that the congregant and her daughter attended a church programme at Gathsamen Prayer Ministry, Kafanchan, in 2016 where Foni was the General Overseer.

Foni singled out the congregant’s daughter and declared that God revealed to him that she would study abroad and not in Nigeria.

He consequently asked the congregant to invite her husband to the ministry, where he repeated the “revelation”.

The couple told Foni that they lacked the resources to fund overseas study and he advised that they should raise N1.7m which he would invest in crypto currency on their behalf and they obliged.

The cleric also told the couple that the return on investment in the crypto currency would be more than enough to cover for the daughter’s school fees and flight ticket.

Each time the couple went to Foni to inquire about the return on investment, however, the cleric would browse on his laptop and declare that the investment had not matured.

The matter was reported at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Kafanchan.

When the charges were read to Foni, he pleaded not guilty.

His defence counsel, Amba Adze, applied for bail, to which the state counsel objected on the ground that if granted, Foni might defraud more unsuspecting individuals.

In his ruling, presiding Magistrate Michael Bawa granted the defendant bail in the sum of N1million and a surety in like sum.

Bawa ruled that the surety must be a village head with at least N1million deposit in his bank account and must produce the bank statement.

In the alternative, Foni would be remanded at the Kafanchan Correctional Centre pending the next hearing on April 11.

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