The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has handed over two cheques totaling N11.9m to one of the parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Rivers State.
The amount was said to have been stolen by a deacon of the church, identified as Cyril Idakwoji.
The South-South Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mr. 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 to 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:
The stolen funds were paid back by the bank, which had sacked the suspect.
Speaking after receiving the cheques from EFCC, Pastor of Province 4 of the RCCG, Port Harcourt, Mark 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.”
Salihu also said EFCC had earlier recovered N36m belonging to Jephthah International School, which was also stolen by the same Idakwoji.
Idakwoji, according to the EFCC zonal head, was also the account officer to the school.
The stolen money was paid back in bonds by the bank to the private school through the EFCC.
Salihu said the bank had reported the employee to the EFCC immediately it discovered the fraud.