A Nigerian pastor living in Co Kildare, Ireland has appeared at Naas District Court accused of taking €70,000 from church funds over an eight year period, RTE reports.
Ebenezer Oduntan, 56, of 45 The Close, Curragh Grange, Newbridge is facing 39 allegations under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Theft and Fraud Act 2001 dating between 2012 and 2020.
At the time of the allegations, Mr Oduntan was pastor of a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (City of David) based at Naas Enterprise Park in Naas.
Det Sgt Glen Mackessy, on secondment to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution of Mr Oduntan at Newbridge Garda Station earlier today.
The defendant made no comment when the charges were put to him.
The court was told that Mr Oduntan allegedly used the €70,000 for his own personal use.
Judge Desmond Zaidan heard that the church held a number of services a week and had a large membership at one point of up to 100 families.
Mr Oduntan was in control of the church’s finances which came from donations from church members, the court was told.
Defence solicitor David Powderly said his client was disputing the allegations and would be fully protesting his innocence.
Prosecuting garda Sgt Brian Jacob applied for bail which was granted with strict conditions by Judge Zaidan.
Mr Oduntan must reside at his home address, surrender his passport and not apply for any other travel documents.
The case was adjourned to Naas District Court on 18 November next.