A deacon of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), identified as Cyril Idakwoji, has been apprehended by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
According to a report by PUNCH, the suspect handed over two cheques covering N11.9m to the church, and the anti-graft agency also recovered N36m belonging to Jephthah International School stolen by Idakwoji.
It was gathered that the amount was said to have been stolen by Idakwoji, who is a former Port Harcourt-based employee of Access Bank.
While speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Ishaq Salihu, the South-South Zonal Head of the EFCC, said that Idakwoji, a former account officer of the church for the bank, was diverting the funds handed to him by the church for his private use instead of transferring them to the church’s bank account.
Salihu told that the suspect had forged letterheads of the church and the signature of the pastor in charge of the region, adding that Idakwoji forged the signature of the church’s accountant in a bid to successfully carry out his criminal activities.
Handing over the cheques to the Pastor of Province 4 of the church, Salihu said, “He (suspect) forged the letterhead of the church’s Region 5 and the signatures of the pastor in charge of the region. He also forged the signature of the church’s accountant to execute his criminal schemes in RCCG.”
The stolen funds were paid back by the bank, who had since sacked the fraudulent employee.
Speaking after receiving the cheques from the anti-graft agency, the Pastor of Province 4 of RCCG, Port Harcourt, Mark Barango, expressed gratitude to the EFCC for ensuring that the money was recovered.
He expressed surprise that Idakwoji, who was a deacon in the church, could involve in such a criminal act.
He 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 recover the money. What they have done is perfect.”
Salihu, however, recalled that the EFCC had earlier recovered the sum of N36m, which belonged to Jephthah International School but also stolen by Idakwoji with his position as a marketer in Access Bank, Port Harcourt.
Idakwoji, according to the EFCC zonal head, had also served as an account officer to the private school.
Salihu said that the stolen fund was recently paid back in bonds by the bank to the affected private school through the EFCC, adding that the management of the bank had reported to the commission immediately it found out that the suspect was fraudulent.