The Federal Capital Territory Police Command has seized the passport of a pastor accused of sexually molesting young female members of his church.
The suspect, Pastor Basil Princewill, is the General Overseer of the Mountain Movers Fire Ministries International, Nyanya, a satellite town located between Abuja and Nasarawa State.
The pastor is facing trial for the alleged offence before Shuaibu Usman of the Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court in Karu.
Hearing in the trial was scheduled to commence on Wednesday, but the prosecution counsel, Sgt. Bulus Samuel, applied for a short adjournment to enable the police amend the charges brought against the pastor.
Samuel informed the court that he was unable to proceed as scheduled because he lost his father shortly after the matter was brought to court.
The defence counsel, Mr. Uchenna Anayo, did not oppose the prosecution’s request for a short adjournment, but moved an oral application for the release of the Pastor’s passport.
He told the court that the police had continued to withhold, despite the fact that it should be released according to the terms of the bail granted the accused person.
“It has come to our attention that the police are still in possession of the first accused person’s passport. We are applying to the court so they can release it,” Anayo said.
The prosecution opposed the application, arguing that the cleric’s passport was seized in line with investigations into the charges against him.
Samuel noted that the said passport would affect the case.
He said, “Section 344 of the constitution gives us the power to seize anything when investigation is going on, if such will affect the case.”
But the court on Wednesday, noted that the prosecution might need the said passport to prove its case. It, therefore, advised the defence counsel to file a written application for the release of the document.
He thereafter adjourned the matter to August 20, 2012, for hearing.
The pastor and his co-accused, Ms Paulyn Ode, were arraigned by the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command on charges of conspiracy, criminal impersonation, criminal intimidation, and criminal force and assault.
Princewill was accused of having carnal knowledge of two 14-year-old female members of the church.
He was also said to have aborted the pregnancy of one the girls, after telling doctors he was her father.