A Rivers State High Court on Thursday struck out the case against 13 members of the Saint Matthew’s Church, Nkpogwu, Port Harcourt, who were accused of diverting N1bn belonging to the church.
The defendants had been arraigned on 22 counts bordering on conspiracy, assault and embezzlement of church funds.
They were arrested after the police received a petition from the leader of the Anglican Church, Niger Delta North Diocese, over the allegation.
The defendants in the matter are Oje Uduagele, Kingsley Onyekosor, Samuel Adeyemi, Merrygold Harcourt, Veronica Johnson, Adeniyi Emmanuel and Eric Obi.
Others are Victor Amachree, Kingdom Amadi, Sunny Ohimai, Uche Okechukwu, Samuel Umendi and Oyedele Ogundipe.
Counsel for the defendants, Chika Igbokwe, represented by Mr. Chris Kalio, had urged the court to dismiss the matter because the complainant had failed to be in court since the commencement of the case about a year ago.
The trial judge, Justice Dappa Ado, accepted the defendants’ prayers and dismissed the case for want of a thorough prosecution.