Legal Nigeria

Clergy in prison over Chinese visa scandal

By Bartholomew Madukwe
An Isolo Magistrate court in Lagos has remanded in prison custody, a clergy, Mrs Joy Tongo, for alleged involvement in a Chinese visa scandal.
The presiding Magistrate, Mrs Joy Ugbomoiko, granted Tongo bail in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum and ordered that she should be remanded in prison custody pending when she will perfect her bail conditions. According to the charge, Tongo, who claimed to be a pastor of the Mountain of Fire Ministry- Yaba headquarters, allegedely defrauded one Stanley Dim under a false pretence of procuring him a Chinese visa for missionary journey.
The accused was charged with obtaining under false pretence and stealing, under the Criminal Code.
However, when the charge was read to her, she pleaded not guilty. It was gathered that the victim met Tongo at the church headquarters in Yaba and she promised to link him with her partner in China for missionary journey. She also told Dim that he could stay back there and earn a living. Tongo allegedly told him that he will pay N300,000 for the procurement of visa and other necessary documents for the trip.
Dim, who did not suspect any foul play, gave her the money and she promised to get back to him with the visa, a day before the journey.
Tongo allegedly failed to deliver the visa on the day she promised Dim. The travel period also elapsed and there was no alternative arrangement for the trip to China.
But when contacted, she told the victim that the journey had been postponed and it will be for another date.
Trouble started few days later as the promise failed and Dim demanded for his money which Tongo failed to comply with because, according to her, she had used the money to obtain forms for his travel documents.
The matter was reported at Alakara police division and Tongo was arrested and charged to court.
The matter was adjourned to September 5, 2015