A High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, has granted bail to 13 members of the Saint Mathew’s Anglican Church, Nkpogu, Rivers State, in a case bordering on conspiracy, assault and stealing of about N1bn belonging to the church.
The 13 members of the church, who were arraigned on 22 counts on Wednesday, were alleged to have, among other offences, assaulted Venerable Chimela Samuel while he was officiating as a priest in charge of the church.
Justice Crescent Dappa-Addo granted the defendants bail in the sum of N100,000 each with sureties, who should be prominent members of the church and residing within the jurisdiction of the court.
In the case instituted by the Inspector-General of Police, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the 22 counts read to them by the court clerk, including that of unlawful transfer of money from the church account to personal accounts.
Arraigned in connection with the offences are Victor Amachree, Kingdom Amadi, Eric Obi, Sunny Ohimai, Uche Okechukwu and Samuel Unendi.
Others defendants are Oyedele Ogundipe, Oje Uguadele, Kingsley Onyekosor, Samuel Adeyemi, Merrygold Harcourt, Veronica Johnson and Adeniyi Emmanuel.
Some of the charges read, “That you, Emmanuel Adeniyi, between December 20, 2013 and July 12, 2016, at 51, Trans Amadi Road, Port Harcourt, in the Port Harcourt Judicial Division, did steal the sum of five million, six hundred and ninety-four thousand and thirty naira (N5,694,030) from a Zenith Bank account, with 1010866271, property of the Saint Mathew’s Anglican Church, Nkpogu Deanery, Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence.
“That you Kingdom Okechukwu, Oje Uduadele, Sunny Ohimai, Kingsley Onyekosor, Sameul Unendi, on or about June 22, 2013 at the Saint Mathew’s Anglican Church, Nkpogu Deanery, Port Harcourt, in Port Harcourt Judicial Division did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: offering violence to officiating ministers of religion and thereby committed an offence.”
Justice Dappa-Addo, however, adjourned the matter till June 28, 2017 for hearing of the case.
In charge Sheet No. 769/2017, the Archbishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Ignatius Kattey, and Venerable Chimela Samuel were described as the nominal complainants in the matter.