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Church accountant bags 18 years for N15.5m fraud

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 an Secretary General of the Church, alleging 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 by offerings, donations and tithe.

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 under 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.

He was not given an option of fine.

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

Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide247.com newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.
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