Hope James

Rt. Rev. Adereti Ebenezer and Chief Akinyede Joseph, have been sentenced by an Ekiti State High Court in Ado Ekiti, to three years imprisonment each for conspiracy and other offences.

The defendants were arraigned before Justice Lekan Ogunmoye on 18th October, 2021 on four count charges bordering on conspiracy, forgery, false sworn declaration and making document without authority.

According to the charge, Chief Akinyede Joseph (68) and Rt. Rev. Adereti Ebenezer (63) on 10th January, 2016 at Ilado Street, Iwore, Ifaki Ekiti, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable court did conspire to forge the minute of meeting of the Registered Trustees of the United Church of Cherubim and Seraphim Organization, make false declarations that they were appointed as members of the Registered Trustees Of the United Church of Cherubim and Seraphim Organization, also did make an amended constitution of the Registered Trustees of the Church without lawful authority.

In his statement to the Police, one of the Trustees, Faseyi Albert said, “I was appointed alongside others as the Board of Trustees of the Church in 2001, the appointment was sent to the Corporate Affairs Commission for ratification.
After the demise of Primates and Archbishop of the Church, Most Rev. S.A. Fadeyi, the Bishop in-council consequently ratified the appointment of Rt. Rev. Tunde Ogunseemi as the new Primate/Archbishop of the organization in 2015.”

“During the manual search conducted by Corporate Affairs Commission, it was discovered that Rt. Rev. Adereti Ebenezer who was Archbishop 3 of the Church and Chief Akinyede Joseph had manipulated some documents which indicated that the trustees had a meeting and decision was taken to remove Most Rev. Tunde Ogunseemi’s name, minute of same meeting was forged among others and presented to Corporate Affairs Commission and I was also alleged to have present at the meeting. The matter was later reported to the Police for investigation and action.” He concluded.

To prove his case, the prosecutor, Gbemiga Adaramola called five witnesses and tendered Petition to the Corporate Affairs Commission, Relieve of appointment letter, Extracts from the meeting, letter from Conference of General Secretaries to the Archbishops, statement of the defendants among others as exhibits.

The defendants spoke in their own defense through their counsel, Ayotunde Ibitoye who pleaded to court to temper justice with mercy, they called four witnesses.

In his judgment, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye said, there was overwhelming evidence before the court that the defendants conspired together to forge the signatures of the Board of Trustees member and minute of meeting of the Registered Trustees of the United Church of Cherubim and Seraphim Organization.
The offence of conspiracy had therefore been proved beyond reasonable doubt against the defendants. In all, the sole issue for determination is resolved partly in favor of the prosecutor.

“Consequently, the defendants are sentenced to one year imprisonment each in counts one, two and four with an option of N20, 000 fine, in each of the counts.

“They are discharged and acquitted in count three (Make false Declaration). The sentences are to run concurrently.” The Judge ruled.