A 35-year-old self acclaimed pastor, Samuel Stephen Chukwuka, was yesterday sentenced to one year in prison for defrauding a company, De-Skye Mercantile Services Limited in the sum of N4.5 million.
Chukwuka was convicted by Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offenced Court, Lagos on a two-count charge of stealing contrary to Section 285(5) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011. Dada jailed Chukwuka after he pleaded guilty and confessed investing the said money in a Ponzi scheme popularly known as MMM.
The convict, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said, committed the offence on October 31, 2016, by dishonestly converting N3 million, property of De-Skye Mercantile Services Limited, to his personal use.
The antigraft agency said that Chukwuka also converted N1.3 million property of the same company to his personal use. The complainant and CEO of De-Skye Mercantile, Egwabor Evans, had testified that the pastor (in the disguise of Multitech Business Ventures) had approached him through Mr. Shola Oyedele to finance an LPO (local purchase order).
According to the evidence before the court, Evans petitioned the EFCC in a letter dated August 8, 2017, alleging that Chukwuka claimed that he was offered an LPO to supply 3,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) otherwise called diesel to UAC Lagos worth N3 million. Evans said that a payment was made on October 31, 2016 via interbank transfer from Fidelity Bank to his Zenith Bank account to be paid back after three to six weeks.
“Four weeks later, on November 29, 2016, Chukwuka came back again that there is another LPO of 6,000 litres worth N1.3 million in the total sum of two LPOs worth N4.3 million.
“After the second transfer was made, he stopped picking my calls. All efforts to recover the money from him yielded no result,” Evans said.
Meanwhile, Chukwuka, in his defence before the court, admitted that he collected the money from the complainant but invested it in a Ponzi scheme popularly known as MMM.
Chukwuka said that he collected the money with the intention of investing it into MMM to make some profits but the scheme crashed on December 14, 2016. Justice Dada thereafter sentenced him to one year in prison following his written agreement with the EFCC where he promised to pay a balance of the N800,000, as he had paid part of the money.