From Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan

Moses Ayantoye, a pastor at the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), has been re-arraigned before an Oyo State High Court in Ibadan on charges of impersonation, forgery, and defamation.

The pastor was initially arraigned on February 8, 2022, on 23 counts related to forgery and impersonation, among other charges. During the court proceeding on Wednesday, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Michael Lana, informed the court that the case was now being amended to include 31 counts, including charges of defamation, forgery, and impersonation.

According to Lana, Ayantoye allegedly forged the letterhead of CAC and sent a letter to the Assistant Inspector of Police (AIG) Zone 11, Osogbo. The letter contained false statements about the pastors of CAC, the church’s solicitor, and officers of the Corporate Affairs Commission, with the intention of falsely prosecuting them for criminal offenses. Lana also stated that Ayantoye had made unauthorised documents for the church and had written a letter to the Legal Practitioners and Privileges Committee, intending to prevent an applicant from being considered for the rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

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Lana also accused Ayantoye of impersonating as the National Public Secretary of the Church and using the church’s documents to publish a letter in The Nation newspaper. The prosecutor further claimed that Ayantoye had published defamatory material against the President and other Trustees of Christ Apostolic Church, Nigeria, as well as against two former directors of public prosecution in the Nation newspaper. Lana also alleged that Ayantoye had given false information during judicial proceedings and had made false allegations to various authorities.

The prosecuting counsel argued that Ayantoye’s actions violated various sections of the Criminal Code of Oyo State and requested that the defendant be further prosecuted for these offences. Ayantoye pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his counsel requested that the court allow him to continue with the previous bail granted, which included a bail sum of N2 million and two sureties.

Justice Rachael Akintola ruled in favour of the defendant, allowing him to continue with the existing bail conditions. The case has been adjourned until May 16 for further proceedings.