N23.29b ‘bribe’: Ex-Rivers REC, 99 others to face trial



About 100 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials are likely to face trial for indictment in the N23.29b bribe during the 2015 elections. They will face internal disciplinary action before being handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution, The Nation learnt.

EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu and INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu are to meet on the interim report on the scandal. The report, The Nation learnt, indicts two Resident Electoral Commissioners – Gesil Khan, Mr. Slyvester Ezeani – 16 directors and 82 others.

Some of those indicted have refunded money and a few others have their assets confiscated by EFCC. A source in the EFCC, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are set for the trial of the indicted INEC officials. We are making the interim report of our investigation available to INEC any moment from now.

“We have a major challenge in INEC. The electoral commission said its rules and regulations do not allow it to hand over the indicted officers to the EFCC for prosecution.

“It said once a report is filed by the anti-graft commission, the INEC management will invoke internal disciplinary mechanism since the allegations are on election matters. After the disciplinary action, the EFCC can arraign them in court.

“We are trying to follow due process as much as possible. So far, INEC has cooperated in releasing all those invited for questioning.

“Once the EFCC and INEC chairmen meet in the next few days, we will then know where we are going.”

A National Commissioner, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are awaiting the report of the EFCC and when we get it, we will subject the affected officials to our internal process. We are operating in a democratic environment and we have to observe due process in whatever we are doing.

“So far, we have lived up to expectations in handing over any INEC officials implicated to EFCC for interrogation, we have not shielded anybody no matter how highly placed.

“We have also taken pre-emptive steps to check these 100 employees. We have exempted them from sensitive operations of the commission pending the conclusion of investigation and the outcome of their trial if any.

The EFCC has been probing the embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on her alleged involvement in a $115m (N23, 299,705,000billion) 2015 poll bribery scandal.



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