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Nigerian pastor based in Mombasa charged with Sh28.7m bank fraud

A Nigerian pastor based in Mombasa has been charged with conspiracy to defraud a bank of Sh28.7 million.

Pastor Wealth Ochelle, alias Apostle Wealth of Cogic International Church of God denied two counts of conspiracy to defraud a bank and handling suspected stolen property.

Pastor Wealth Ochelle Alias Apostle Wealth was charged with conspiracy to defraud Stanbic Bank Limited of Sh28,779,600.

State prosecutor Anderson Gikunda told the court that the preacher hatched the conspiracy between  November 3 and 8, 2022, at an unknown place in the Republic of Kenya.

He was also charged with handling stolen money.

The court heard that on 10 November 2022, he dishonestly received Sh340,000, having reason to believe that the money was stolen or unlawfully obtained.

The pastor, who denied any involvement in the crime, applied to be released on bail.

A defence lawyer appearing for the pastor urged the court to release the man on bail, saying “he has the fear of God in him and will appear in court”.

Also read: Nigerian charged with Sh300,000 ‘wealth multiplication’ con

The magistrate heard that although the accused is a Nigerian national, he is a pastor who works in a church in the coastal region.

“I urge this court to exercise its discretion in favour of the pastor who is entitled to be released on bail under the Constitution of Kenya,” the lawyer prayed.

The magistrate heard that the pastor has since surrendered his passport to the police.

He further said the pastor has been living in Kenya since 2013 in Shanzu, where he has a church in the name of Cogic Church of God.

The court released the pastor on bail, saying Article 49 of the Constitution requires a court to release any suspect arraigned in court on bail.

Mr Onyina released Pastor Wealth on Sh500,000 bail. The case will come up on 9 June 2023.

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