Sunday, April 17, 2016

2015 Gov polls: EFCC arrests INEC chiefs for taking N675m in bribes

Inec in action

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has found over N675.1m in the bank accounts of different Independent National Electoral Commission officials in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta states.

According to the anti-graft agency, the money was received and shared by the officials during the last governorship elections.

Sunday PUNCH gathered that the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the 2015 election in Rivers State, Mrs. Gesila Khan, and other officials of INEC are already in EFCC custody. Khan was quizzed by the Department of State Services in July last year but was never charged.

However, SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that Khan and four others were arrested on Thursday, by the zonal office of the EFCC in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The residences of all the suspects were subsequently searched and incriminating documents were said to have been recovered by the commission.

According to impeccable sources at the EFCC, Khan, who is now the REC in Cross River State, allegedly received N185.8m ahead of the March 28 and April 11, 2015 election.

A source at the EFCC, who did not want his name in print, said Khan had made confessional statements and was cooperating with the commission.

He alleged that Khan received money through a special bank account and the commission had received overwhelming evidence.

He said, “Khan was the REC in Rivers State in 2015 election before she was transferred to Cross River early this year. She was said to have received N185.8m. She has made confessional statements.”

The anti-graft agency also arrested one Edem Okon Essanga, who is a retired INEC official. Essanga was arrested alongside his alleged accomplice, Immaculata Asuquo, who is the Head, Voter Education, INEC, Akwa Ibom State.

Essanga was alleged to have received over N240m which he shared among INEC ad hoc workers during the last election.

“Essanga received N241.1m during the general election. He admitted receiving the money and confirmed sharing it with different ad hoc workers during the election. His accomplice Asuquo has also been arrested,” the source added.

The source also disclosed that the EFCC had arrested one Fidelia Omoile who was the INEC electoral officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area, Delta State.

Apart from tracing over N112m to her, the commission also recovered some sensitive electoral materials during a search of her apartments in Edo and Delta states.

“She received N112.4m during the 2015 general election. A search warrant was executed at her residences in Asaba and Benin. Sensitive materials used in the 2015 elections were recovered, including evidence of the suspicious bank transaction and land documents that will assist us in our investigations,” the source said.

The commission also arrested one Oluchi Obi Brown who was the INEC administrative secretary in Delta State. She allegedly received over N111m.

Further investigations by detectives revealed that Brown had about $75,000 in an account in the United States.

“Oluchi received N111.5m during the general election. Investigations showed that she operates a foreign account with the Bank of America. As of February this year, the account balance was $75,857, (N24, 274,240),” the source added.

The sum total of the money found in the bank accounts of the INEC officials is N675.1m.


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