A Nigerian pastor finds himself in legal trouble over allegations of fraudulent activities, which reportedly involved deceiving people into parting with their money.
Theophilus Ebonyi, a prominent figure in Benue state, faces accusations of swindling his followers and others, amounting to over 1.3 billion naira ($930,000; £740,000).
While Mr. Ebonyi was detained and subsequently released on bail last year, the details of his arrest have only recently come to light, as per statements from the anti-corruption authority spokesperson.
In response to the allegations, Mr. Ebonyi dismissed the news as “fake,” attributing it to bloggers, but refrained from addressing the specific accusations against him.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claims that Mr. Ebonyi allegedly solicited $1,300 fees from his victims under the pretense of accessing a $20 billion grant from the US-based Ford Foundation. However, investigations revealed that the foundation had no association with Mr. Ebonyi or his NGO, vehemently denying any connection with them.
Furthermore, the EFCC alleges that Mr. Ebonyi, who heads the Faith on the Rock Ministry International church, used the illicitly obtained funds to purchase five properties. He is slated to face charges in court once investigations conclude, though the specific charges remain undisclosed.
In a video statement shared on Facebook around the same period as the EFCC’s announcement of his arrest, Mr. Ebonyi refuted the allegations, accusing bloggers of spreading falsehoods for monetary gain. However, EFCC spokesperson Dele Oyewale clarified that Mr. Ebonyi had indeed been arrested and subsequently released on bail last year.
The unfolding events surrounding Mr. Ebonyi’s case underscore the complexities of legal proceedings and the importance of thorough investigations in matters of financial fraud. Stay tuned for further developments.