Holy mess: Abuja pastor arrested for stealing, then still jumps bail

by NAN

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A Karu Senior Magistrates’ Court, presided over by Celestine Odo, on Wednesday issued a bench warrant on a 39-year-old pastor, Francis Innocent for jumping bail.

Mr. Odo issued the warrant after the accused failed to appear in court either in person or by proxy for the second time in violation of the bail terms.

The accused and his wife, Joy Francis, of Kurudu, Abuja, are facing a two-count charge of joint act and theft.

The accused persons were alleged to have stolen a large quantity of drugs from a pharmacy shop belonging to one Victor Onwuliri where Joy was employed as sales nurse.

The police prosecutor, Cpl. Glory Ihenacho, told the court that the matter was scheduled for opening of defence but the second accused was not present in court.

“I think it is a deliberate attempt by the second accused person to delay the case, which is in its second year now and that will not be accepted, your lordship.

“The first accused person, who is his wife, is in court, but he chose not to appear without a satisfactory reason from either his wife or the defence counsel.

“I hereby ask for bench warrant on the second accused and a notice to his surety to enable him to produce the accused if the police cannot reach him for arrest.

“I pray the court to grant us the application to produce the accused to enable him to clarify himself on the allegations brought against him in the court of justice,’’ he said.

The prosecutor told the court that M. Onwuliri reported the case at Kurudu Police Station, adding that the complainant told the police that he employed Joy to work in his shop, a patent chemist.

He alleged that the wife conspired with her husband and took away some drugs from his shop. Mr. Ihenacho said the drugs were discovered later in their possession and they could not account for them.

He said the valued of the drugs was unknown, adding that investigation into the matter was ongoing to ascertain the amount.

The magistrate granted them bail in the sum of N200,000 each following their non-guilty plea during their first court appearance on July 24, 2012.

Mr. Odo adjourned the case to May 22, for defence and ordered the police to arrest and produce either the second accused person or his surety on the adjourned date.

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