A Church accountant, Ibrahim Aku, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after he was found guilty of stealing N15.5 million Naira tithe and offering.
The former accountant of EYN Church of Christ the Church of Brethren in Nigeria received the jail term at a Yola State High court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had accused Aku of defrauding the church of N15.5 million between 2016 and 2018. He 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, Secretary-General of the church. Investigations by the EFCC revealed that the money was generated by church members through offerings, donations and tithe.
According to the EFCC, 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 the funds for personal use. He went on to forge bank tellers to balance the financial books of the church.
Ibrahim Aku 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 carry out the fraud.
He pleaded “guilty” to the charges and Justice Nathan Musa of the Adamawa State High Court, sentenced him to 18 years in prison, three years on each of the counts, to run concurrently.
The trial judge, further ordered that he refund the stolen money to the church as restitution and that proceeds of the crime recovered from him in the course of investigation be sold and the proceeds remitted to the church.