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Church accountant bags 18 years for N15.5m fraud

Church accountant bags 18 years for N15.5m fraud

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By ONYEKA AJUMOBI ONOCHIE

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Gombe Zonal Office on January 13, 2020, secured the conviction of one Ibrahim Aku before Justice Nathan Musa of the Adamawa State High Court.

Aku, an accountant at EYN Church of Christ (Ekilisiyar Yen Uwa Nigeria), EYN,  Church of Brethren in Nigeria  (CBN) in the state faced a six-count charge bordering on forgery and obtaining money by false pretence.

He was investigated and prosecuted following a petition by the church through Rev. (Dr). Daniel Mbaya, a Secretary General of the Church alleging that Aku defrauded the worship centre of N15.5million between 2016 and 2018.

Investigations by the EFCC revealed that the money was generated by the church members through offerings, donations and tithes.

The convict was entrusted by the church to deposit the church’s revenue into the church’s account with First Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc  but he ended up diverting same, and forged bank tellers to balance the financial books of the church.

He was assisted to commit the crime by his friend, one Benefit Ishaku, currently at large, to whom he gave N500,000. His accomplice assisted him in forging the stamps of the banks, which were also used to perpetrate the fraud.

He was prosecuted using the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

Prosecuting counsel, S.E. Okemini, thereafter, urged the court to convict him as charged.

Justice Musa, thus, pronounced him guilty and sentenced him to 18 years in prison – three years on each of the counts, to run concurrently, and was not given an option of fine.

The trial judge, further ordered that he refund the stolen money to the church, and that items of the crime recovered from him should be sold and the proceeds remitted to the Church.

About Mikail Mumuni