Christ Embassy Pastor, Wife In Trouble Over N2 Billion Ponzi Fraud …‘EFCC Did Not Invite Us Before Declaring Us Wanted’- Pastor Fights Back

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A Christ Embassy pastor and his wife have been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Chief Executive Officer of Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative, a Bayelsa-based ponzi scheme, Pastor (Dr) Miebi Bribena (full name: Onyimiebi Bribena) and his wife, Beatrice Bribena were declared wanted for allegedly defrauding Nigerians to the tune of N2 billion.
Pastor Bribena, who is a pastor at Christ Embassy Kumasi 1, Ghana, fled Nigeria last year after failing to pay investors their return on investment (ROI), leading to protests in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Pastor Bribena had alleged that some staff of the cooperative compromised its systems by defrauding the organisation of over N300million, adding that the organisation was carrying out a forensic audit to enable it pay backlog of unpaid surpluses to the investors and members, a promise that was never fulfilled.

A statement signed by Wilson Uwujaren, Head, Media & Publicity of EFCC partly reads:
“Bribena and Beatrice are both natives of Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“Their last known address is: No 163 Mbiama Yenagoa Road, Biogbolo, Bayelsa State.
“Anybody with useful information as to their whereabouts should please contact the Commission in its Benin, Kaduna, lbadan, Sokoto, Gombe, Maiduguri, Makurdi, llorin, Enugu, Kano, Lagos, Gombe, Port Harcourt and Abuja offices or through these numbers 09-9044751-3, 0B093322644, 08183322644, 070-26350721-3, 070-6350724-5; Its e-mail address: info@efcc.gov.ng or the nearest Police Station and other security agencies.”

The President of Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (BMCSL), Pastor Oyinmiebi Bribena and his wife, Beatrice, have declared that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) never invited them for any questioning or interrogation before declaring them as wanted persons.

On account of this, Biribena has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa to enforce their fundamental rights.
The EFCC had in a statement by its Head, Media and Publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, declared the couple wanted for allegedly defrauding Nigerians to the tune of N2 billion.

Prior to their declaration as wanted persons by the EFCC, the President of BMCSL had earlier filed an originating summons before the Federal High Court, Yenagoa, against the anti-graft agency.

He had sought the determination of some questions with regard to the powers of the EFCC to interfere in disputes between members of the cooperative society, considering the provisions of the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act of 2004.

Reacting to the declaration, Bribena, who is also a pastor at Christ Embassy church, said: “We did not receive any invitation letter from the EFCC and were not aware of any summons or pending charge against us by the EFCC.

“It is therefore surprising that the commission will go to such length to damage our reputation and make me and my family to go through ‘media trial’.”
He said members of the cooperative society approved that the society trade with their contributions at an Online Foreign Exchange Market for monthly returns, which ran smoothly until the unfortunate events where most of the funds were lost in the market.

He said despite the loss, he had constantly made frantic efforts to recover and refund members their contribution as authorised by the general meeting of the cooperative, but the actions of the EFCC had constituted a spoke in the wheel of progress.
Bribena, who assured contributors that all hope was not lost, stated that he would not relent in the efforts being made to clear his name.
He, therefore, called on all members of Baraza to remain calm and rest assured that with the resolve to sort out the issues on the ground, every member would recover their contributions.

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