A COURT in the United States (US) has overturned a suit instigated by the General Overseer (GO) of the Moutain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Daniel Olukoya against the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore.
The court sitting in Maryland, in its ruling, ordered the MFM GO, Olukoya, to within 30 days, pay a sum of $7,320 to Sowore.
In the case with suit number 8:18-cv-02922, the MFM GO highlighted 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 lawyers had stated in a 49-paragraph complaint their three causes of action which were “defamation, defamation per se and false light”.
During the court proceedings, the defendants requested details of the UK Charity Commission’s investigation of Olukoya’s church.
When Olukoya failed to provide the requested discovery, the defendants filed a motion to compel him. But Olukoya stated that he had responded to the discovery requests and that the motion to compel him was therefore moot.
The presiding judge, Theodore D. Chuang, in his ruling on the suit on June 24, 2021, held that “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”
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 held.
“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).”