The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has clarified that the religious sect that was revealed by its Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, to have been indicted for money laundering is neither a church nor a mosque.
Olukoyede had revealed that the anti-graft agency traced the sum of N7bn, suspected to be part of N30bn money laundering, to a religious organisation.
He further revealed that another religious group was found to be laundering money for terrorists.
The EFCC chairman made the revelation on Wednesday at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, during a one-day dialogue on “Youth, Religion, and the Fight against Corruption.”
However, in a statement by the EFCC’s spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on Thursday, the anti-graft agency said some media platforms and analysts were misquoting its chairman’s comments over the development.
Oyewale said, “The attention of the EFCC has been drawn to some misleading reports, commentaries and analyses by sections of the media, particularly Arise News, regarding the disclosure by the Executive Chairman, Mr Ola Olukoyede about money laundering practices involving some religious sect leaders in Nigeria.
“At the commission’s public engagement on Youth, Religion and the Fight Against Corruption on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 in Abuja, the Chairman had frowned at the conduct of some religious sect leaders whom he accused of being complicit in money laundering,”
Quoting Olukoyede’s words, Oyewale said, “As I’m standing before you, there is a matter we are handling: a pyramid scheme that involves over N30billion fleeced from Nigerians.
“Along the line, some people died, some victims collapsed and all of that. We were able to trace over N7billion to a particular religious body, and I said, to write a letter to the leader of that religious sect, and we did.
“The next thing we saw was a restraining order. We got a restraining order restraining us from recovering the money. Meanwhile, people have died along the line. Money traced directly to your body, and that is what we are battling. Of course, we have appealed, and this is the situation that is facing us, religious leaders.”
Oyewale added that the EFCC Chairman equally disclosed, “When I was the Chief of Staff, we investigated an issue of money laundering, somewhere in this country. There is a particular religious sect that laundered money for terrorists. These are the problems we are battling with.”
Speaking further, the EFCC’s spokesman noted that the EFCC boss neither mentioned a church, a mosque, nor any particular religious entity.
Oyewale added, “Olukoyede neither mentioned a church, mosque nor any particular religious entity. Unfortunately, his comments have been twisted with mischievous connotations.
“The groups fingered by the EFCC chair are religious sects, not a church or a mosque.
“Those subjecting this disclosure to sinister interpretation are on to mischief and should be ignored.
“The EFCC’s boss is focused on his assignment of tackling all shades of economic and financial crimes and would not be distracted.”