Cleric charged with $94,000 fraud

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday remanded a cleric, Olawale Ibikunle Talabi, in police custody following alleged $94,000 fraud.

Justice Abimbola O. Awogboro made the order and adjourned till October 12 for ruling on the defendant’s bail application.

Talabi, 64, and his firm Palilar International Ltd, were brought before the judge on a two-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining the sum of $94,000.

Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) in Lagos, which arraigned them, said Talabi, an apostle, had been on the run since 2017 when he allegedly jumped bail after his arraignment at a Lagos Chief Magistrate’s Court.

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Prosecution counsel Chukwu Agwu alleged that sometime in 2013, the defendant obtained $94,00, from Lead Ore and Copper (Tianji) International Company Ltd, under the guise of supplying the firm lead ore.

The court heard that Talabi allegedly failed to honour his end of the deal.

The offences, according to the prosecutor, contravened Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006.

Talabi pleaded not guilty.

His counsel, George Oguntade (SAN) prayed the court to grant him bail on the ground that the alleged offences were bailable, adding that his client never jumped bail as claimed by the prosecution.

He added that the defendant, being an Apostle in his church and without any criminal record, would always be available to contest the charges against him.

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