The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday urged religious leaders to show more concern about the sources of huge tithes received from members of their congregation, if the war against corruption is to succeed in the country.
Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mrs. Farida Waziri, spoke at a one-day interactive seminar on economic and financial crimes for state senior executives in Calabar, Cross River State. She said it has become the practice for corrupt government officials and dubious members of the public to pay huge sums as tithes to religious bodies without being asked the source of the wealth.
The Head, Strategy and Reorientation of the EFCC, Mr. Gabriel Aduda, who represented Waziri at the seminar , said religious leaders should find out if the huge funds paid by members as tithes were legitimately earned.
She said: “Prosperity must come legitimately. I feel a responsible pastor should know where the tithe of his worshiper is coming from. How and where did you make the money that you are bringing in as tithe? It is not enough for your member to bring in a huge amount and you say- God bless you.
“Pastors should be responsible through their members (who are top government officials, members of the public) to want to know how they make money they bring to church. So, it goes beyond just preaching prosperity, they should let the people know that religion is beyond that. For any soul to prosper it means that soul must be in right standing with the principles that God has laid down by doing the dos and refusing the don’ts.”
The seminar, which attracted top government officials including the Secretary to the Government of Cross River State, Mr. Fidelis Ugbo, commissioners, permanent secretaries, among others had as its theme, “ Transparency and Accountability: Imperative for Good Governance.”
In a lecture entitled EFCC Mandate, Functions and Operations, the head of the commission’s legal unit in Enugu, Mr. Johnson Ojogbani, disclosed that the commission had, in the last 15 months, secured conviction for 75 persons.
Ojogbani said over N300b recovered had been returned to either the agencies they were stolen from or the coffers of the Federal Government.
He said the anti-graft agency was ready to collaborate with the state government to stamp out corruption in areas such as tax evasion, among others.
Ugbo said the Cross River State government would cooperate with the EFCC to stamp out corruption in the system, saying, “if we see anything that is shady we have the right to report to the EFCC and we will do that.”
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well she made a point, but not all churches register d name of those paying tithes nor do some tither disclose d exact amount he/she is paying to the church, except when paying in cheque. the EFCC can also help by employing more staff to do the work for them by planting them in various churches and being members of the department in charge of the churches acccount. instead of passing blames