Shocking: Reverend Father Arraigned for Defrauding Seminarians ...

A 29-year-old Rev. Father, Anthony Marie Wendji, was on Tuesday arraigned for alleged cheating before a Makurdi Magistrates' Court. The prosecuting officer, Insp. James Zungwe, told the court that the case was transferred from 'A' Division Police Station, Gboko, to the State CID, Makurdi.

According to the transfer letter, one Simon Onyeabo reported that the accused dishonestly deceived him that he was a Reverend Father assigned to train seminarians for Holy Face Congregation.

The complainant stated further that the accused under that pretext, appointed him as coordinator and induced him to collect the sum of N70,000 each from Seminary Applicants for the training.

He disclosed that the total money collected was N840,000 from the 12 applicants and the "Reverend" who is said to come from Bangassou, Central African Republic, promised to take them to Cameroun after training.

Simon Onyeabo said that they later discovered while on training at Holy Face Community House established by the Reverend in Gboko that he was operating an illegal institution.

He said that the reverend had no approval either from the Corporate Affairs Commission or Diocese of Gboko to operate the institution.

The complainant stated that when the accused realised that they had discovered his secret, he sent them away without refunding their money or sending them to Cameroun as he promised, and he even went ahead to recruit new seminarians.

During police investigation, the Reverend Father was arrested for the alleged offence. The prosecutor said that the offence contravened Section 324 of the Penal Code.

When the case came up for mention, Rev. Father, Anthony pleaded not guilty.

The Magistrate, Mrs Theresa Wergbah, granted him bail in the sum of N50,000 and a surety. The case was thus adjourned to January 16, 2014, for trial.