Sunday, 23 February 2014

Pastor Cho Yong-gi of One of the World's Largest Churches Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Embezzlement

By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter
February 21, 2014|5:02 pm

The Rev. Cho Yong-gi, founder and pastor emeritus of Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, one of the largest Pentecostal churches in the world, has been sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling church funds.

Cho was found guilty of causing $12 million in losses to the church by having officials in 2002 buy stocks owned by his eldest son, Cho Hee-jun, at four times the market value, Yonhap reported on Thursday.

The 78-year-old pastor, who founded the church in 1958, will also have to pay about $4.6 million in fines. The junior Cho will also be serving a three-year prison term for colluding with his father, the Seoul Central District Court ruled.

According to The Gospel Herald, Cho was also found to have been evading 35 billion won (US $3.3 million) in taxes. The elderly pastor first came under investigation in 2011 when he was accused by 29 church elders of embezzling church funds and privatizing church assets.

Cho was apparently given a light sentence by the Seoul court because of his long-standing contributions to society, and will have a five-year stay of execution.

A biography of Cho on the English version of the Yoido Full Gospel Church website says that the pastor, who came to faith after attending a crusade led by American missionary Ken Tines, met Jesus in a vision one night while he was fasting and was baptized in the Holy Spirit.

"Pastor Cho gives thanks to the Lord for his 47 years of ministry, and has been sincerely serving 750,000 church members," the biography states. "In the early 21st century, the church's goals for next 10 years are to build 500 prayer houses and 5,000 satellite churches in Korea, and to expand global mission through internet broadcasting, and to enlarge overseas mission to the third world countries, including North Korea."

Slain Banker: Arowolo To Die By Hanging, Court Rules

Ayo Balogun. Lagos

Justice Lateefat Okunu of the Ikeja High Court has sentenced Akolade Arowolo to death by hanging for killing his banker wife, Titilayo Omozeze.

Arowolo was said to have murdered his wife on June 24, 2011 at their residence, No. 8, Akindeinde Street, Isolo, Lagos, while the matter was charged to court. His wife, Titilayo was then a staff of Skye Bank.

The convict had come to the court around 9:30am by prison officials, apparently having a premonition of the fate that will befall him.

Delivering judgment today, Justice Okunu said evidence before the court proved that Arowolo actual murdered his wife in the matrimonial home, while she also based her judgment the forensic report conducted by Professor John Obafunwa. The report had said there was no way the deceased could have stabbed herself to death.

Prof Obafunwa had testified that his autopsy report revealed that Titilayo was killed through 76 knife stab wounds, saying that the knife wounds affected Titilayo’s left eye, right eye, upper chest area, right chest and collar bone, pointing out that the deceased could not have inflicted such wounds on herself.

Justice Okunu stated that by the law principle of ‘Last Seen’ since Arowolo was the only person with his wife when she was stabbed, no one but him could have killed her, adding that evidence proved beyond doubt that Arowolo murdered his wife with tremendous knife stab force and therefore sentenced him to death by hanging.

Arowolo wept and pleaded for mercy from Jesus Christ as he was told his fate.

The Lagos State prosecution team, led by Mrs Olabisi Odugbesan led 15 witnesses in evidence to convince the court that Arowolo murdered his wife. No fewer than 21 witnesses gave evidence in the case that lasted for 26 months.

The Lagos State prosecution team, led by Mrs Olabisi Odugbesan led 15 witnesses in evidence to convince the court that Arowolo murdered his wife.

Arowolo’s lawyer, Olanrewaju Ajanaku had submitted that there were no substantive evidence linking his client to the murder of his wife, noting that since none of the prosecution witnesses, saw the alleged fight between the couple, their testimonies were mere hearsay.


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