Church accountant gets 18-year jail term for stealing N15.5m tithes, offerings

A Federal High Court sitting in Yola, the Adamawa state capital, has sentenced an accountant of the Church of Brethren in Nigeria, Ibrahim Aku, to 18 years in prison for fraud.

Aku was convicted on charges of forgery and obtaining money by false pretense.

The judge, Nathan Musa, gave the order while ruling on a six-count charge filed against the accused, on Monday, January 13, 2020.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused Aku of defrauding the church of N15.5 million between 2016 and 2018.

According to the EFCC, the money was generated by the church members through offerings, donations and tithes.

The defendant, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was sentenced to 18-years in prison without an option of fine.

The judge also ordered Aku to pay back the money as restitution to the church, adding that the proceeds of the crime recovered in the course of the investigation should be sold and the funds should be remitted to the church.

Reacting to the judgement, an EFCC official, Bello Bajoga, said: “The convict was entrusted with church money and he ended up diverting the money and forged tellers and presented same as genuine, to serve as evidence of payment of the remittance”.

Similarly, the General Overseer of Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, has dismissed some senior officials of the ministry for allegedly looting the church treasury.

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