Justice Nathan Musa of the Adamawa State High Court on Monday, sentenced a church accountant, Ibrahim Aku, to 18 years in prison for N15.5 million fraud.
Aku, an accountant at EYN Church of Christ (Church of Brethren in Nigeria), was prosecuted on six counts bordering on forgery and obtaining money by false pretense by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Gombe zonal office.
He was prosecuted under the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, following a petition by Rev. Daniel Mbaya, the Secretary-General of the Church who alleged that Aku defrauded the church of N15.5million between 2016 and 2018.
Investigations by the EFCC revealed that the money was generated by the church members from offerings, donations, and tithe.
According to a statement by the acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, the convict was entrusted by the church to deposit the revenue into the church’s account with First Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc, but he diverted it.
Aku reportedly forged bank tellers to balance the financial books of the church.
The statement said, “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 perpetuate the fraud.”
In a related development, the anti-graft agency has arraigned one Sanusi Idris before Justice Venshark Gaba of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on one count of criminal breach of trust to the tune of N9.4m.
The charge read,” That you, Sanusi Yau Idris, sometime in February 2018 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, being entrusted with the sum of N9.4m by Hon. Johnbull Shekarau for the purchase of a Lexus saloon car LS450 fraudulently converted the said sum to your own use and thereby committed a criminal breach of trust, an offence contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code, Cap 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963 and punishable under Section 312 of the same Act.”
Idris pleaded not guilty to the charge and the prosecution counsel, Felix Makinde Olufemi, urged the court to fix a trial date.
Justice Gaba ordered the defendant to be remanded in a correctional facility and adjourned the matter till February 17, 2020, for the commencement of trial.