A United States District Court in Maryland has ordered the founding father of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr Daniel Olukoya, to pay $7,320 inside 30 days as a part of sanctions within the go well with he entered in opposition to human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, alleging defamatory publications.
The courtroom, in a ruling by US Magistrate Judge, Timothy Sullivan, and obtained by SaharaReporters, titled, “DKT 75 Order re – Motion for Sanctions 18-cv-02922,” added that Olukoya was additionally “prohibited from (1) making any use of any documents related to the U.K. Charity Commission that he produced to the Defendants after January 2, 2021; and from (2) challenging the admissibility of these documents on any basis.”
SaharaReporters had printed tales involving Olukoya in September 2017 when some church members in Maryland accused him of importing non secular books with out paying customs duties.
It had been revealed that the church dragged a few of its former pastors and members to courtroom over financial and property disputes.
The sued pastor and former church members had, in flip, accused the General Overseer of participating in fraudulent actions within the US, together with evasion of duties owed to US authorities.
In an motion filed within the Circuit Court for Prince Georges’ County of Maryland, U.S.A., (Case No. CAL16-26532) on behalf of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International, Lagos, and Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, USA, Nevada, the church had sought declaratory judgment and damages in opposition to Pastors Lawrence Adetunji, Ronke Adetunji, and 11 former members of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Bowie, Maryland.
Also joined within the go well with had been the Christ the Truth Ministry, the successor of MFM Bowie.
At challenge are actual property described as 5506 and 5503 Church Road in Bowie, Maryland, which have been acquired by MFM Bowie in 2001 and 2004, respectively. Also in competition are funds for the MFM constructing in Bowie.
In October 2018, Olukoya and the church had instituted a courtroom motion on the US District Court for the District of Maryland in opposition to Sowore and Sahara Reporters Media Inc. in a suitcase quantity, 8: 18-cv-02922, which Judge Theodore D. Chuang then heard.
Highlighting the Sahara Reporters publication of September 27, 2017, entitled “Former Mountain Of Fire Miracles Ministries Pastors Accuse General Overseer, Olukoya, Of Illegal Importation Of Goods In US Property Dispute,” Olukoya and the church legal professionals had said in its 49-paragraph criticism their three causes of motion which have been; “defamation, defamation per se and false light.”
They, subsequently, claimed an award in opposition to all defendants to compensate for all financial damages sustained on account of their tortious conduct; an award in opposition to all defendants to compensate for all presumed precise reputational harm; an award in opposition to all defendants to compensate for all presumed precise damages ensuing from psychological anguish and emotional misery; an award in opposition to all defendants of punitive damages; legal professional’s charges and prices.
SaharaReporters had, nonetheless, in August 2020 additionally reported that Olukoya was contemplating taking one other authorized motion in opposition to the net information publication to cease it from reporting in regards to the United Kingdom Charity Commission scandal involving his church.
Olukoya, in a letter written by his lawyer, Ime Nya Asanga, had alleged that SaharaReporters levelled false allegations in opposition to him and the MFM board of trustees.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported how the UK Charity Commission appointed an interim supervisor for the MFM in August 2019.
The fee, in a press release, mentioned the interim supervisor assumes these duties on the exclusion of the charity’s trustees, stating that the trustees retain management over issues relating to non secular actions.
The UK charity regulator claimed it had severe considerations over MFM Chair of Trustees, Dr Daniel Olukoya, and his dealing with of significant incidents.
It accused Olukoya of illegally assembly a former worker of the charity alleged to have stolen between £150,000 and £190,000 of the charity’s funds in Nigeria, then entered into an settlement with the person with out consulting with different trustees.
Olukoya had previously filed three libel fits in opposition to the Publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, in Nigeria and one other one earlier than the District Court of Maryland, United States.
While all of the circumstances in Nigeria had been dismissed, the one within the US was determined solely on June 24, 2021.
While ruling on the go well with, the US District Court Justice of the Peace mentioned Olukoya ought to pay $7,320 inside 30 days as a part of sanctions within the go well with he entered in opposition to Sowore whereas alleging defamatory publications.
The Justice of the Peace mentioned, “Plaintiff Daniel Olukoya brought this lawsuit against the Defendants to recover for purported defamatory statements that the Defendants made about him and his church in an article published on September 27, 2017.2 See ECF No. 73. During discovery, the Defendants sought information related to the U.K. Charity Commission’s investigation of Olukoya’s church. ECF No. 72 at 1-2. When Olukoya failed to provide the requested discovery, the Defendants filed a motion to compel (ECF No. 55). Among the discovery requests at issue was a request for “[a]ll documents relating to proceedings before the U.K. Charity Commission related to Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International.” ECF No. 55-3 at 13.
“In response to the motion to compel, Olukoya stated that he had responded to the discovery requests and that the motion to compel was therefore moot. ECF No. 59. Thereafter, the court held a telephone conference to address a related dispute (whether Olukoya would be required to produce discovery responses directed to a party whose claims had been dismissed), but otherwise treated the Defendants’ motion to compel as moot.
“Unfortunately, Olukoya’s response to the motion to compel contained a serious misrepresentation; he had not produced any “documents relating to proceedings before the U.K. Charity Commission related to Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International.” See ECF No. 68 at 5 (noting that Olukoya produced no paperwork aware of this request). And at 1 Judge Chuang referred this case to me for all discovery and associated scheduling issues. ECF No. 57. 2 Other claims that Olukoya introduced in opposition to the Defendants have been dismissed. ECF No. 26. Olukoya’s deposition, which was held on April 23, 2021, Olukoya testified that there have been “tons and tons of documents in [his] possession” that relate to the inquiry by the U.Okay. Charity Commission. ECF No. 72-8 at 34.”
The Justice of the Peace added that the defendants, subsequently, sought sanctions in opposition to Olukoya for his failure to provide the requested paperwork referring to proceedings earlier than the U.Okay. Charity Commission.
The Justice of the Peace mentioned, “The conclusion is that; for the reasons set forth above, the Defendants’ Motion for Sanctions will be granted in part and denied in part. The court will enter the following sanctions against the Defendants: Olukoya is prohibited from (1) making any use of any documents related to the U.K. Charity Commission that he produced to the Defendants after January 2, 2021; and from (2) challenging the admissibility of these documents on any basis other than Fed. R. Evid. 401 and 403.
“Olukoya will also be required to pay the Defendants’ reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in connection with his discovery failures, which total $7,320.00, within 30 days of the date of this Order. Payment should be made directly to the Defendants’ attorneys. These sanctions are entered against Olukoya pursuant to Rules 37(c) and 26(g).”
Meanwhile, within the response of Olukoya’s authorized group to the courtroom, it already admitted that the mentioned on-line publications didn’t result in any hurt for the church.
The courtroom papers obtained by SaharaReporters mentioned, “Defendant Omoyele Sowore’s Request for Admissions. Responses 1. Admit that Plaintiff Daniel Olukoya did not suffer any economic harm due to the publication of the Challenged Statements. RESPONSE: Plaintiff denies this request. 2. Admit that no contract between Plaintiff Daniel Olukoya and any individual, corporation, or entity was terminated due to the publication of the Challenged Statements. RESPONSE: Plaintiff admits this request. 3. Admit that no member of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles church resigned from the Mountain of Fire and Miracles church due to the publication of the Challenged Statements.
“RESPONSE: Plaintiff denies this request. 4. Admit that Plaintiff Daniel Olukoya cannot identify a single individual who decided not to become a member of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles church due to the publication of the Challenged Statements. RESPONSE: Plaintiff denies this request. 5. Admit that Mountain of Fire and Miracles employs a public relations professional or media aide who is responsible for public relations for Mountain of Fire and Miracles. RESPONSE: Plaintiff admits this request.
“6. Admit that Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries employs a public relations professional or media aide who is responsible for public relations for Plaintiff Daniel Olukoya. RESPONSE: Plaintiff admits this request. 7. Admit that Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries maintains a website that provides information about its ministry to the public.
“RESPONSE: Plaintiff admits this request. 8. Admit that Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries maintains a YouTube page that airs Plaintiff Daniel Olukoya’s sermons. RESPONSE: Plaintiff admits this request. 9. Admit that Plaintiff Daniel Olukoya’s Facebook page identifies him as a public figure. RESPONSE: Plaintiff admits this request. 10. Admit that Plaintiff Daniel Olukoya is a public figure for purposes of this defamation action. RESPONSE: Plaintiff admits this request.”
The legal professionals representing Sowore within the go well with said that they’d donate the $7,320 sanction charges to be paid by Olukoya to Sowore’s ongoing courtroom circumstances in Nigeria the place the federal government dragged him to courtroom over trumped-up fees.
“Based on Olukoya’s gamesmanship in failing to provide relevant discovery materials (particularly has failed to timely produce any documents relating to the UK Charity Commission investigation), we filed a motion asking magistrate judge Sullivan to impose discovery sanctions on Olukoya. We’re delighted to report that at the end of last week, magistrate Sullivan issued the attached decision finding that Olukoya misled the court and awarding $7,320 in attorneys’ fees against Olukoya personally.
“Olukoya is required to pay us the $7,320 in attorneys’ fees within 30 days. And Lisa and I would like to donate the $7,320 to SaharaReporters to help defray Sowore’s legal defence in Nigeria.
“That’s where things currently stand. In the next few weeks, we’ll be conducting additional limited depositions of Olukoya and Grace Ugeh, which the magistrate has permitted so that we can question each of them about documents they improperly failed to produce until after they were deposed,” one of many legal professionals said.