Polls: EFCC Arrests INEC Chief, 4 Others Over N650m Scam
Alleged corruption in the 2015 general elections is back in the news following the arrest of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) in Cross River State, Gesila Khan and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC).
The suspects are being held for a N650.9million 2015 poll bribery scandal, EFCC sources said last night.
Sensitive election materials for the 2015 presidential and senatorial polls were also retrieved from the residences of some of the suspects as were many documents on financial and landed properties.
Some of the documents are receipts of payments made into their accounts.
The suspects allegedly committed the poll bribery fraud in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
There were indications that many INEC staff and Ad hoc workers benefitted from the bribe-for-poll results scandal.
Khan, who was the REC in Rivers State during the last general election, allegedly pocked N185, 842,000 out of the bribe sum under probe by the EFCC.
The other suspects and the bribe cash against their names are Fidelia Omoile (Electoral Officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State)–N112,480,000; Uluochi Obi Brown ( INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Delta State)–N111,500,000; a former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River state, Edem Okon Effanga—N241,127,000 and the Head of Voter Education in INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo–N214,127,000.
According to investigation by our correspondent, all the suspects and their accomplices have made useful statements to EFCC.
A top source said: ” During the preliminary grilling of Khan, she admitted that she went to a bank to identify one Peter Popnen (who is on the run) to collect N185, 842,000.
“We have launched a manhunt for Popnen to ascertain how the deal was struck. As far Fideli Omoile, we discovered that her signature and driver’s license were allegedly used for some of the N112.48m transactions.
“Regarding Uluochi, investigation confirmed that she had $75, 857 in her account with the Bank of America as at February. This indicated that she laundered some of the N111.5m poll bribery cash abroad.
“In any case, EFCC is quizzing her on why she is operating a foreign account in violation of the Code of Conduct Act.”
Another source in the commission said those who benefitted from the scandal appeared to be many.
The source gave more details on the confessions of some of the suspects.
“On his part, Effanga told interrogators that although he cashed the N241,127,000 at a branch of Fidelity Bank in Calabar, he only got $290,000 as his share.
“But from his testimony, many INEC staff and Ad hoc workers benefitted from the loot. We are probing the sources of these slush funds which were deployed in some of these states to bribe INEC staff. Certainly, we are looking into many accounts which were used by some INEC staff.”
Asked about Immaculata Asuquo, the source added: “She said she was directed by the REC in Akwa Ibom to go and identify Effanga in order to cash the N241,127,000.”
As at press time, it was gathered that all the suspects had been granted bail but they could not fulfil the conditions.
The source said: “EFCC may have no choice than to approach a court for a warrant to detain them.
“I think we may go to court on Monday accordingly.”