Bishop, pastor wife in 419 mess

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Forty-one-year-old Ginika
Obi, bishop and general overseer of City of Liberation and Comfort
International Ministry, located at Kilometer 3, Enugu-Port Harcourt
Expressway, Enugu, who is alleged to have defrauded more than 200 people
in different states, is now cooling his heels in the custody of the
police.

Even his 37-year-old wife, Ezinne Ruth
Obi, a pastor, has already been remanded in Enugu prison by a magistrate
court after she was arraigned for issuing dud cheques to victims.
The couple’s cookie began to crumble when
petitions were written to the police command about their alleged
fraudulent activities. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed
Danmallam told Sunday Sun
that the command received over 50 petitions from people in different
states, whom Ginika Obi and his wife had allegedly defrauded. The couple
were said to have registered a non-governmental organization (NGO)
called, “Build Your Generation Organization,” and asked members of the
church and the public to invest N7,000  in a scheme, with the promise of receiving a double amount in return.
Sunday Sun
gathered that the bubble burst when Chinonso Nweke, a barrister and
banker, who is a member of the church in Port Harcourt where it was
originally located, brought a petition that Ginika had collected
millions of naira from him and other people. He said that the suspect
thereafter absconded and relocated with his family.
Following this development, the bank
sacked Nweke and he was arrested by operatives of the Department of
State Services (DSS) and transferred to the custody of the Akwa Ibom
Police Command for investigation and prosecution. He was subsequently
charged to court for obtaining money under false pretence and remanded
in prison custody for three weeks before he was granted bail. The case
is still in court.
In the course of investigating the
matter, in response to the petitions sent to it, the police in Enugu
learnt about the role played by Ginika’s wife, Ruth, and eventually
tracked her down to Asaba, where she had allegedly hidden to evade the
law.
Giving further insight, Danmallam
explained that the Commander, Monitoring Unit of Enugu Police Command,
Supol Alkali Uba, moved with his men to Asaba and arrested her on June
26, 2017 and took her back to Enugu.
Ruth was then arraigned in a magistrate
court in Enugu on a four count charge for issuing dud cheques, an
offence punishable under section 1(1) (b) (i) of the Dishonoured Cheques
Act Cap D II Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2006, and subsequently
remanded in prison.
Sunday Sun
further learnt from Danmallam that police detectives arrested Ginika on
August 5, 2017 in a hotel along Agbani Road, Enugu, and he has been in
custody for alleged advance fee fraud, a crime known in the country as
‘419’ and punishable under section 419 of the Criminal Code.
He disclosed that over 200 people from
different states, namely, Enugu, Anambra, Akwa Ibom and Ebonyi had since
Ginika’s detention at the police headquarters come to lodge more
complaints about how he allegedly defrauded them. He said that Ginika
never denied the allegations, claiming that he had records of his
transactions and promised to pay back the money taken from them.
Meanwhile, the Enugu State Government has demolished the church building in the state. In an interview with Sunday Sun,
Ginika, who attended Aku Primary School and Boys Secondary School, both
in Uli, Anambra State, also had ministerial training at Teamwork
Missionary School,  Port Harcourt, Rivers State.  He worked at Pillar of Life Church and Foundation Faith, both in Port Harcourt in 2002, before establishing his own church.
He said further: “In 2016, I started a
non-governmental organization, called Build Your Generation
Organization, which was registered with the Corporate Affairs
Commission. I have built houses for many people and sent some people to
school and paid their school fees since I started the NGO and involved
my church members.”
Ginika who has six children and hails
from Ihiala Local Government Area, Anambra State said that the NGO
collapsed in February 2017, resulting in his inability to pay the people
who gave him money. He relocated with his family in April 2017. He said
that he was having a meeting with members of the board of the NGO at
the hotel in Agbani, Enugu, when he was arrested by the police.
“I am now working together with the
police to pay back money to the victims. I have a house in Port Harcourt
worth N50million and the police know about this. I have another house
at Emene in Enugu, valued at N80 million. I promised to pay back soon. I
am going to pay back one hundred and eighty-six million naira. I have
identified the people who gave me money. I never denied their claims and
I promised to pay back their money,” he stated
One of the victims and member of the church, Mrs. Mogbo Chidinma told Sunday Sun that she paid money to the NGO through the branch of a leading new generation bank located along Kenyatta Road, Enugu.
“I encouraged my friends to also invest
in the NGO. Sometimes, I deposited N200,000 into the account; later
Bishop Obi said we should be paying the money directly to him or his
wife or the cashier in the church. In January and February 2017, I paid
N1million to the bishop. I have been beaten in my office and in my house
by those I collected their money and I didn’t see Bishop Obi. It was
when I heard the news that the Enugu State Police Command had arrested
him, I immediately I came here. He has promised to pay back.” she said.
Meanwhile, the police boss said that investigation into the case would continue.
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