The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has handed over two cheques totalling N11.9m to a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Rivers state.
The amount was said to have been stolen by a deacon of the church Cyril Idakwoji.
The South-South Zonal Head of the EFCC, Ishaq Salihu, explained on Wednesday that Idakwoji, a former employee of Access Bank, was the account officer of the church for the bank.
He said the suspect diverted the church funds into private use instead of transferring them to the church’s bank account.
Handing over the cheques to the pastor-in-charge of Province 4 of the RCCG, Salihu said, “He (suspect) forged the letterheads of the church’s region 5 and the signature of the pastor in charge of the region. He also forged the signature of the church’s accountant to execute his criminal schemes in the RCCG.”
The stolen funds were paid back by the bank, which had sacked the suspect.
Speaking after receiving the cheques from the anti-graft agency, the Pastor of Province 4 of the RCCG, Port Harcourt, Ark Barango, commended the EFCC for ensuring that the money was recovered.
Expressing surprise that Idakwoji, who was a deacon in the RCCG, could be involved in fraud, Barango said, “He (suspect) was the account officer assigned by the bank to us. He was also a member of the church. EFCC is an agent of transformation. I thank the EFCC for helping us to recover the money.”