The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has granted the post-conviction bail application filed by the Senior Shepherd-in-Charge of the Celestial Church of Christ, Genesis Global, Prophet Israel Ogundipe.
Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos State High Court had on November 18, 2020 sentenced the popular prophet to one-year imprisonment for converting a woman’s property to his personal use and stealing.
The court found Ogundipe guilty of stealing and unlawful conversion of the property of a London-based architect, Mrs Oladele Williams-Oni.
Ogundipe, who was arraigned on seven counts bordering on obtaining by stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretences, unlawful conversion of property and forgery, fraudulently collected N14 million and £12,000 in various tranches from the complainant between August 30, 2002, and 2005.
Justice Akinlade, who found Ogundipe guilty on two counts of stealing and unlawful conversion of property not delivered, sentenced him to one-year imprisonment on each count and ordered that he should pay the complainant the sum of N11 million, which he obtained from her illegally.
After the judgement, Ogundipe through his counsel, Babatunde K. Ogala (SAN) approached the appellate court for bail pending appeal and an application to quash the conviction.
Ogala argued that the televangelist was diabetic, and could no longer follow a strict diet.
He also argued that the constant specialised medical attention in custody, which had taken a toll on his health made him “gaunt in appearance.”
He stated, among others, that prior to his incarceration, Ogundipe was suffering from hypertension, peptic ulcer and frequent malaria which had worsened his health challenges since his November 18 conviction.
Delivering the lead ruling Justice Abudullhai Muhammed Bayero held: “There are criteria for granting a convict bail. These include that the applicant must be a first-time offender or having serious health conditions.
“The applicant seeking bail pending appeal before the court is a first-time offender and he has also shown to court that he is having hypertension, peptic ulcer, unending malaria and diabetic, which are serious health conditions.
“He is consequently admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million with two surties in like sum. The surties must have landed property on Lagos Island with original Certificates of Occupancy from the Lagos State Government.
“The sureties are to deposit these documents along with their passport photographs with the Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal.”