A Nigerian High Court has sentenced two 'men of God', Pastor Glory
Abrefera and Reverend Vincent Okpogo to 10 years imprisonment each
over a N1 billion deposit scam.
Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Asaba, capital of
Delta state, found the duo and their company, Mustard Seed Micro
Investment Limited guilty on a four count charge of carrying out
banking practice without licence.
The accused persons were said to have collected over N1 billion from
different individuals and organizations as deposits in an illegal
They have also failed to account for all the deposits they collected.
Mustard Seed Micro Investment Limited was convicted on two counts and
fined N2 million on each of the counts. Pastor Abrefera and Reverend
Okpogo, both directors of Mustard Seed Micro Investment limited, were
also convicted on two counts and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment
They were equally fined N2 million on each of the counts.
The terms are to run concurrently.
The accused persons were said to have sometimes between 2006 and 2007
at Warri, Delta State engaged in banking practice without the required
banking license and thereby committed an offence contrary to section
2(2) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Cap B3, Vol 2,
Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Part of the charge reads: "that Pastor Glory Okeoghene Abrefera,
Reverend Vincent Okpogo and Mrs Nonye Abrefera (still at large) whilst
being directors of Mustard Seed Micro Investment Limited sometime
between 2006 and 2007 at Warri, Delta State within the jurisdiction of
the Federal High Court knowingly consented to the carrying on of
banking business without a valid licence by the company thereby
committed an offence contrary to Section (2) and 49(1)of the Banks and
other Financial Institutions Act Cap B(3), Vol 2, laws of the
Federation of Nigeria 2004".
The so-called men of God were arrested following a petition filed by
some of the depositors to the EFCC, detailing the dubious activities
of the accused persons.
The EFCC subsequently intervened, investigated the activities of the
voodoo bank and arraigned the suspects in 2011.
Counsel to EFCC, G. K. Latona described the judgment as a milestone in
the Nigerian judiciary.
He said it was the first time that persons were convicted for carrying
out banking practice without the required licence.
He said the judgment would serve as a deterrent to other persons
engaging in such nefarious activities