Politics

JUST IN: How Pastor swindles church members, others of N1.3bn

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken into custody the General Overseer of Faith on the Rock Ministry International, Apostle Theophilus Oloche Ebonyi, for allegedly defrauding church members and other Nigerians of N1, 319,040,274.31.

Spokesman for the commission, Mr Dele Oyewale said in a statement that the accused was arrested for defrauding his victims, comprising non-governmental organisations and individuals by advertising an intervention project through his NGO, Theobarth Global Foundation, claiming that the Ford Foundation was offering a grant of $20 billion to assist the less-privileged in the society.

The anti-graft agency said Ebonyi deceived his unsuspecting victims to subscribe as beneficiaries of the phony grant by asking them to pay for registration forms and clusters.

“Each subscriber was made to pay N1.8 million and through this arrangement, Ebonyi allegedly raked in N1, 391,040, 274.31. His subscribers are innocent and unsuspecting Nigerians and NGOs across the country,” the agency said.

EFCC further revealed through its investigation that the Ford Foundation had no arrangement, grant, relationship or business with Ebonyi.

“The Foundation pointedly disclaimed him and his NGO, stressing that it had no link whatsoever with them,” it said. The statement said the commission had also traced five properties he acquired as proceeds of his criminal dealings.

“Ebonyi is still reportedly reaching his subscribers on some social media platforms to market his spurious grant from Ford Foundation,” the EFCC said.

Oyewale said the suspect would be arraigned in court as soon as investigations are concluded.