A retired army colonel has landed in trouble after he duped a church the sum of N34.5 million.
The Criminal colonel identified as Col. Eugene Okpala has been sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiracy, and obtaining money under false pretences. He was sentenced by Justice M. N. Yunusa of the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu. The convict duped a church, Dominium City Church, of the sum in 2010.
It was gathered that the 62-year-old convict was earlier slated for trial on Wednesday but the case took a different turn when the retired colonel decided to change his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty”.
According to Punch, Okpala was said to have in 2008, approached one lawyer, Vincent Obetta, of Igwurube Chambers and a member of Dominion City Church under the pretext of having large portion of land for sale at N40m.
The complainant, Dominium City Church, in need of a landed property to build their school, negotiated and eventually bought the land for N34.5m. The church also paid additional five percent of the sum, which is, N1.75m as agency fee to Igbwurube Chambers.
After buying the land, as the church tried developing it in September 2010, they were given the shock of their lives when another lawyer came up to tell them that the land belonged to one Chief Philip C. Asiodu.
Giving more details in a statement, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren said: “Investigation was launched into the matter and the convict was found culpable and was arraigned. During trial, counsel for the EFCC, I. I. Mbachie tendered 13 exhibits which were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibit C1-13.
“Having changed his plea, the defence counsel, E. O. Isinu, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy saying, his client was a first time offender.
“Justice Yunusa consequently sentenced Okpala to seven years imprisonment on each count preferred against him. The sentences are to run concurrently.”