The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has alleged that the General Overseer of Faith On The Rock Ministry International, Apostle Theophilus Ebonyi, acquired properties with the proceeds of his fraudulent dealings with his subscribers.
The EFCC’s Spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, who said this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the pastor was recently arrested but released on bail.
“Investigations showed that Apostle Theophilus Ebonyi acquired a 23-room hotel, a pure water factory, two blocks of a primary school and two bungalow office at Nyanya-Gwandara, New Karu, Abuja
“And, a five-bedroom duplex at Karsana, Abuja with the proceeds of his fraudulent dealings with his subscribers.
“He also set up a live broadcast channel with studio equipment for his Theobarth Global Foundation with the funds of his subscribers,” he said.
Oyewale recalled that Ebonyi was arrested in 2023 by the EFCC for allegedly defrauding his church members and other Nigerians
He alleged that the pastor was allegedly using fake grants from the Ford Foundation to the tune of N1, 319,040,274.31(One Billion Three Hundred and Nineteen Million, Forty Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy Four Naira, Thirty One Kobo).
“Specifically, he was arrested for defrauding his victims, comprising Non Governmental Organisations, NGOs and individuals by advertising an intervention project through his NGO (Theobarth Global Foundation)
“Claiming that the Ford Foundation was offering a grant of $20,000, 000. 000( Twenty Billion United State Dollars) to assist the less-privileged in the society.
“He allegedly hoodwinked his 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 N1,800,000( One Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira only).
“Through this arrangement, Ebonyi allegedly raked in N1,391,040, 274.31. His subscribers are innocent and unsuspecting Nigerians and NGOs across the country,” he said.
Oyewale said that investigations by the EFCC showed that Ford Foundation had no arrangement, grant, relationship or business with Ebonyi.
He noted that the Foundation pointedly disclaimed him and his NGO, stressing that it had no link whatsoever with them.
According to him, the Commission has 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,” he said.
“Investigations by the EFCC showed 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. The commission has also traced five properties he acquired as a result of his criminal dealings.”
Earlier, while reacting through the Facebook video, the pastor said he was neither arrested by the anti-graft agency nor by any other organisation, while faulting bloggers for allegedly using his picture to chase clout.
He said, “I am here. The lion himself. I am the capacity. I am the naked wire. I am here by myself. The rumour out there is fake. It is a lie. Don’t mind the bloggers. They are just trying to use my body to make money. That is why they are using my picture to trend. No trouble. No arrest by the EFCC or any other organisation.”
When contacted to confirm the pastor’s claim on Monday, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, countered Ebonyi’s claim.