About 13 members of Saint Matthew’s Anglican Church, Nkpogu, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, were, yesterday, arraigned before a state High Court sitting in Port Harcourt over allegations bordering on conspiracy, assault and stealing of over N1 billion belonging to the church.
The 13 suspects, who were arraigned on 22 counts, were said to have also assaulted one Venerable Chimela Samuel while he was officiating as a priest in charge of the church.
The trial judge, Justice Crescent Dappa-Addowere, later granted them N100,000 bail each, with sureties that must be important members of the church and residing within the jurisdiction of the court.
In the charge sheet, one of the suspects, Emmanuel Adeniyi, was accused of stealing N5,694,030, property of Saint Matthew’s Anglican Church, Nkpogu Deanery, Port Harcourt.
Another suspects, Victor Amachree, was accused of disturbing religious worship by locking out Venerable Chimela Samuel and the congregation by preventing them to worship.
One of the charges read: “That you Kingdom Okechukwu, Oje Uduadele, Sunny Ohimai, Kingsley Onyekosor, Samuel Unendi, on or about June 22, 2013 at Saint Matthew’s Anglican Church, Nkpogu Deanery, Port Harcourt, in Port Harcourt Judicial Division, did conspire among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: “Offering violence to officiating ministers of religion and thereby committed an offence.”
However, the suspects pleaded not guilty to the allegation of unlawful transfer of the money from the church’s account to personal accounts and all the other counts read to them. Dappa-Addo adjourned the case till June 28.