A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has acquitted the former Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, and Prophet Emmanuel Omale of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry of N573million money laundering claims.
In 2020, Omale dragged First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) to court claiming that the bank falsely reported to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit that 570m was paid into his church account, thereby, leading to accusations that the money was used in purchasing a house in Dubai for Magu.
The claimant stated that in 2016, the FCMB falsely reported to the NFIU that ₦570m was paid into the church’s bank account marked 1486743019 which caused security agents to put the account under surveillance for four years.
The statement of claim read in part, “Sometime on or about the 6th day of July 2020 the former acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was arrested and summoned to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to appear before the Presidential Investigation Committee on the Alleged Mismanagement of the EFCC, Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020.
“That one of the key allegations levelled at the Presidential Investigation Committee against Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was that the 2nd Claimant (Prophet Omale) fraudulently and corruptly purchased a real estate property for Mr. Ibrahim Magu in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates with the said sum of ₦573, 228, 04 allegedly credited as an inflow into the 1st Claimant’s (church’s) Corporate Current Account No: 1486743019 in the year 2016.”
Omale and his wife, accompanied by their lead Senior Counsel, Gordy Uche (SAN), and a team of four senior lawyers appeared before the panel on August 10, 11, and 12 and were grilled for hours on their alleged roles in respect of the sum of ₦573m used in purchasing a real estate property for Magu in Dubai.
The cleric said they paid Uche (SAN) & Co., the sum of N15m to appear and represent them for three days before the said Presidential Investigation Committee and attached a copy of the receipt to the statement of claim.
He said they all denied the allegations of fraud, adding that he never bought any property for Magu when grilled by the panel.
Omale said the Salami panel in the course of its hearing also invited the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FCMB, Adam Nuru, who appeared before the committee and testified.
However, in his verdict on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, Justice Halilu noted that the evidence before the court showed that Omale’s bank admitted error in its report to the NFIU, of entries in the Divine hand of God Prophetic ministries account.
The judge further held that the bank claimed that the purported N573 million was wrongly reflected as a credit entry in Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry’s account by its reporting system, which it recently upgraded.
Justice Halilu noted that the bank admitted the error, which occasioned incalculable damage to the reputation of Pastor Omale, his wife and their church both within and outside the country.
The judge further awarded the sum of N540 million Naira as damages in favour of the church.