Abia Governorship: INEC Issues Certificate Of Return To Uche Ogah

INEC has issued the certificate of return to Mr Uche Ogah as the Governor of Abia State.

INEC’S Director of Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzi says this follows an order by the Abuja Federal High Court mandating  INEC to immediately issue Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah who came second at the last Peoples Democratic Party, PDP primaries in Abia State.

With this development, it is unclear if Okezie Ikpeazu will vacate the seat as the governor of the state.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has Monday annulled the election of Governor and ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Dr. Samson Oga.

The court also ordered Ikpeazu to vacate office immediately.

But the governor in his response to the court judgement maintains that he remains the Governor of the state according to law and will await the final determination of the matter by the appellate courts.

 

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EFCC Recovers N1b From Ex-ministers, INEC Chiefs

Over N1billion cash illegally deployed in the 2015 election has been refunded.

The cash came from  some former ministers, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders and coordinators of some election observer groups, The Nation learnt yesterday.

More than N2billion has been frozen in many accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).

The cash is part of the N23.29billion allegedly pumped into the failed bid to get former President Goodluck Jonathan re-elected by bribing INEC officials. It allegedly came from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

There are also refund pledges running into billions of naira, a source said.

The latest of such refunds came yesterday from two former ministers, three INEC officials and a coordinator of election observers who paid back N62,750,000 to the EFCC.

Besides, no fewer than 36 INEC officials have been implicated in the campaign cash fraud.

According to a source, who pleaded not to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media, the EFCC has recovered more than N1billion cash from those who shared in the bribe.

The source said: “In all the six geopolitical zones, most of those quizzed have admitted benefiting in one way or the other from the cash.

“Our investigation revealed that there appears to be a pattern of allocating about N450million to each of the 36 states and FCT.

“Some of the beneficiaries have paid back; others made pledges and some are still meeting in groups to refund what was allocated to them.

“So far, we have recovered over N1billion in cash and more than N2billion frozen in some accounts nationwide.

“We have given them deadline and they seem to be willing to pay back.”

The Nation stumbled on a document in which some of the refunds are listed. They include N359millon by some INEC staff in Oyo and Ogun states; a former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Sen. Joel Ikenya Danlami (N2m);  ex-Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly Mark Bako Useni (N1m);  ex-Minister of Power Wakil Muhammad (N6,680,000); ex-Minister of Science and Technology Abdu Bulama (N5m); Muhammed Kadai(N1m); the Coordinator of observers in Maiduguri, Jummai Lawan Ibrahim(N19m); and a former INEC official, Bunu Mulina (N6m).

Others are INEC officials, including Mohammad Umar ( N17m); Kabir Bello (N5m); and Musa Buba Amshi (N4m); Senator Kumo Saidu Umar and ex-PDP Chairman in Gombe State, Paloma Nuhu N4million( N2 million each) which they claimed to be their personal benefits from the fund.

The latest of such refund (N62, 750,000) came yesterday from Maiduguri zonal office.

The source said: “In continuation of the ongoing investigation of some INEC officials in Maiduguri and two former ministers, the Advance Fee Fraud/Extractive Industries Unit handling the investigation was able to recover N62,750,000.

“Investigation is ongoing in the matter as other people are expected to come for questioning. The serving INEC officials are detained in the EFCC office.”

There were indications yesterday that the number of serving INEC officials quizzed by the EFCC on the scandal has risen to 36.

They comprise 16 top directors at the headquarters, a Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC), Gesil Khan and five others from Cross River; 11 in Gombe State, were grilled at the Gombe State Zonal office of the EFCC; and three detained  in Borno.

Grilled are Khan for collecting  N185, 842,000 out of a N681million bribe deal; 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.

A retired INEC official, Sani Isa,  was grilled for alleged N406,206,000 bribe allegedly collected on behalf of the deceased Resident Electoral Commissioner  (REC) in Kano State, Alhaji Mukaila Abdullahi.

Those grilled in Gombe are: Godwin Maiyaki Gambo Balanga, Bukar Alone Benisheik, Dukku, Jibril. B. Muhammed,Billiri, Dunguma Musa Dogona, Funakaye, Mohammed. A. Wanka, Kaltungo, Ishaku Yusuf, Kwami, Suleiman Isawa, Nafada, Babagana Malami, Shongom, and Nuhu Samuel, Y/Deba.

The EFCC source said: “So far, we have questioned more than 36 INEC staff but we are still counting. We are expecting more names from our zonal offices in  Port Harcourt, Enugu, Gombe, Kano and Lagos.

“At the end of our investigation, we will refer the list of those indicted to INEC management for appropriate disciplinary action.

“This is without prejudice to the fact that the law will take its course. Some of the INEC officials may face trial.”

Credit: The Nation

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N23bn Diezani Bribe: 11 INEC Officials Admit Receiving N120m

Eleven officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission who supervised the 2015 general elections in Gombe State have admitted to receiving N120m out of the N23bn ($115m) allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The affected staff, who were electoral officers in charge of the 11 local government areas of Gombe State, were grilled at the Gombe State Zonal office of the EFCC.

Most of them admitted to have benefitted from the bribe sum which was routed through a retired Electoral Officer, Yunusa Ali Biri.

Those quizzed were: Godwin Maiyaki Gambo Balanga, Bukar Alone Benisheik, Dukku, Jibril. B. Muhammed,Billiri, Dunguma Musa Dogona, Funakaye, Mohammed. A. Wanka, Kaltungo, Ishaku Yusuf, Kwami, Suleiman Isawa, Nafada, Babagana Malami, Shongom, and Nuhu Samuel, Y/Deba.

With the latest bend of the investigation, the number of INEC staff so far interrogated is 33.

The EFCC kad more than a month ago arrested a former Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Mrs. Gesila Khan, and other top INEC officials in the South-South for allegedly receiving N675.1m from Diezani.

A top source, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “We have interrogated 11 electoral officers over N120million bribes they allegedly received from some politicians to undermine electoral process in the 2015 election conducted by the commission.

“The staff, who were all electoral officers in charge of the eleven local government areas of Gombe State, reported at Gombe State Zonal Office of the commission yesterday.

“They had made useful statements, and most had confessed to receiving millions of naira for their local government areas from two of them who negotiated and collected the bribe on their behalf.

“The electoral officers for the Akko Local Government Area and Gombe Local Government Area, Ahmed Ali Biu and Mohammed.B.Zannah, admitted to have collected the bribe from one Yunusa Ali Biri, also a retired electoral officer who acted as Gombe State coordinator of bribes for electoral officers in the state.

“Biri was known and addressed as coordinator of NGO, a euphemism or code, used to cover the activities of the two parties.

“At the meeting of the state coordinator, Biu, and Zannah at the Electoral Officers’ Lodge at Corner Alheri, opposite the NNPC mega station in Gombe.

“The parties agreed to share the bribe per polling unit in each local government area and part of the bribe should go to the ad hoc staff employed and deployed to each polling station across the state.

“However, the commission would have to unravel the discrepancy in the amount collected and the actual money disbursed to the electoral officers.

“ Some claimed that the coordinator short-changed them because he gave only N88million (N8million each) to the eleven local government areas in the state.”

The number of the INEC staff grilled by the EFCC has now risen to 33, including 16 directors, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja and a Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC), Gesil Khan, and five others.

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

About four oil firms, 14 directors of oil companies, two banks and INEC officers have been grilled.

Some INEC officers already grilled are REC Gesil Khan for collecting  N185, 842,000 out of a N681million bribe deal; 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 the INEC in Cross River State, Edem Okon Effanga—N241,127,000 and the Head of Voter Education in the INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo—N214,127,000.

Also, a retired INEC employee, Sani Isa,  was grilled over alleged N 406,206,000 bribe sum allegedly collected on behalf of the deceased Resident Electoral Commissioner  (REC) in Kano State, Alhaji Mukaila Abdullahi.

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Kogi Guber: INEC Insists Faleke Was Bello’s Running Mate As Tribunal Reserves Judgement

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), at the sitting of the Kogi State Election Tribunal yesterday in Abuja, said there was no evidence that the All Progressive Alliance (APC) (Second Respondent) communicated to it the withdrawal of James Faleke as the party’s running mate in the governorship election, required by law.
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Ex-Oil Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke Gave Fidelity Bank MD $23 Million In Cash To Bribe INEC Officials

Punch newspaper has revealed more damaging information from the probe of slush funds handed Fidelity Bank PLC to bribe officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The report gave further insight into how massive slush funds were given to a bank MD, Nnamdi Okonkwo to bribe INEC officials so they could change the final tally of 2015 presidential poll to favor ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

See report below:

In a continuation of the probe into how the Peoples Democratic Party allegedly bribed some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission before the 2015 presidential election, the EFCC has arrested an oil tycoon, Mr. Laitan Adesanya, for his alleged role in the $115m (N23bn) bribe funds.

It was learnt on Sunday that Adesanya, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Lenoil Nigeria Limited, was arrested by the EFCC in Lagos on Friday.

The anti-graft agency had, last week, arrested the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo and the bank’s Head of Operations, Mr. Martin Izuogbe.

Adesanya was alleged to have handed $1.85m to the bank based on the instruction of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Other companies, which allegedly handed over money to the bank MD, included Northern Belt Gas Company Limited ($60m); Auctus Integrated ($17.8m); and Midwestern Oil and Gas ($9.5m).

Diezani was also alleged to have given the bank MD $26m in cash which was ultimately disbursed to officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission ahead of the 2015 presidential election as bribes.

A reliable source at the EFCC said Adesanya was in the custody of the commission in Lagos and was being grilled as of Friday.

He said, “We are asking him about the $1.85m he dropped and what purpose it was supposed to serve.”

According to the United Kingdom Financial Times, Adesanya is an international oil businessman, who has been in the business for decades.

The newspaper states that Adesanya made huge profits during the military administrations of the 1980s and 1990s.

Also, sources within the EFCC have denied claims by Fidelity Bank Plc that it reported all its financial dealings to the appropriate authorities

The bank had, in a statement last week, stated that “transactions were duly reported as required by the regulators and the bank is cooperating fully with the authorities on the investigation.”

However, the source said the $26m, which the MD allegedly collected directly from Diezani, was neither reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria nor the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, which is domiciled in the EFCC.

The source added, “The $26m cash that was collected from Diezani was not deposited into any account. So, how could they say they reported it? They didn’t report anything because the money was given to the bank for safekeeping and there was no intention for it to be used to open an account.

“If it was put in the system, then, there must be records. Who brought the money? They don’t know. They were supposed to have reported the transaction to the CBN and NFIU, which is domiciled in the EFCC but there is no such report.

“The money was meant for distribution to INEC officials. When the bank MD was collecting $26m cash from a serving minister, why didn’t he ask her where she got the money from?”

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N23.3b Election Bribe: Bank, INEC Officials Refund N408.7m To EFCC

The probe of huge cash pumped into the failed bid to change the 2015 presidential election results has began to yield fruits as the The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered N408.7million from some of the beneficiaries of the slush funds.

Those involved in the bribery scandal include oil barons, INEC officials and officials of some banks in the country.

Fidelity Bank refunded N49.7million, its profit from the disbursement of the N23.29billion provided by former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Some former and serving INEC officials in Oyo and Ogun states refunded N359millon.

More officials of INEC were said to have rushed to the EFCC to refund the bribe given to them.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested some bankers. It plans to haul in some oil barons who contributed $115m (N23, 299,705,000billion) to bribe some Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials. The officials were to alter the results of the election in which President Muhammadu Buhari, the then candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) beat then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

The owner of an oil company, Leno Olaitan Adesanya, yesterday reported at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja for interrogation.

He was however asked to go to the commission’s office in Lagos for questioning.

Two others, who have been summoned by the EFCC, were said to have gone underground and incommunicado.

The EFCC team has intensified its investigation into the scandal.

It was learnt that besides INEC officials in the 36 states, the EFCC has invited the owners of the oil firms which contributed $88.35million of the $115million sent to Fidelity Bank by the ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources.

One of the four oil firms implicated in the bribery saga has been linked to former Governor of Delta State, who is serving a jail term in the United Kingdom, James Ibori.

It was gathered that the oil companies were mandated by Mrs Alison-Madueke to part with $88.35million as their contribution to Dr. Jonathan’s campaign.

Some of the oil chiefs were reportedly shocked by the findings of the EFCC that their donations were deployed in bribing INEC officials.

An EFCC source, who spoke in confidence, said:”Our investigation into the N23.29billion bribe has reached a critical stage. Six teams are working round the clock in all the geopolitical zones.

“The top officials of Fidelity Bank in custody have made statements, including the list of all beneficiaries and bank details of payments made to them.

“We are likely to arrest more suspects, especially the oil chiefs who provided about $88.35million of the $115million lodged in Fidelity Bank for conversion to naira.

“One of the clues we are probing is the likelihood of these funds being laundered by the oil firms and their owners.

“If these clues are proven, they may eventually face trial for money laundering. We will surely interact with these oil magnates.

“Some oil companies are under surveillance for their covert operation in diverting taxes and revenue meant for the Federal Government to fund campaigns. You can now understand why some of them were given tax waivers.”

The source added: “One of the oil chiefs, Leno Olaitan Adesanya, reported at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja but he has been directed to go to the Lagos office.

“We are expecting him for grilling on Friday (today). We have invited other oil chiefs but two of them have gone underground. We will fish them out wherever they are.”

Fidelity Bank and some former and serving officials of INEC have refunded about N408.7million to the EFCC.

While the bank refunded N49.7million, some former and serving INEC officials in Oyo and Ogun states paid back  N359millon

A top EFCC source said: “While scrutinizing their records, we discovered that Fidelity Bank made a profit of N49.7million from the disbursement transactions made in all its branches nationwide. The management of the bank on Thursday refunded the profit while we are continuing investigation on other funds.

“Some former and serving INEC officials in Oyo and Ogun have paid back N359million to EFCC. What happened was that while N802m was voted for bribery of INEC officials and NGOs in Oyo State to change presidential poll results, about N629m was dished out in Ogun State,

“But some of these beneficiaries in Oyo and Ogun were suspicious of the sources of the funds. They cooperated and went to the designated Fidelity Bank branches and collected the cash. Instead of spending it, they sought the service of lawyers who advised them to open accounts to keep the cash in case there are issues in the future.

“When this matter came up, the lawyers assisted in locating the funds and the N359million was refunded.

“We are working on other beneficiaries to recover the slush funds.”

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How Nigeria’s Ex-Oil Minister Alison-Madueke Gave $115m To Fidelity Bank MD To Compromise INEC Officials -EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, and some officials for allegedly receiving $115m from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The EFCC also arrested the bank’s Head of Operations, Mr. Martins Izuogbe, for his role in the alleged scam, which the anti-graft agency described as unprecedented.

A reliable source in the commission on Wednesday told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election, Diezani invited Okonkwo to help her handle some cash, which would be disbursed to electoral officials and groups.

The source disclosed that the fraud was uncovered when the EFCC began investigations into how officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom states received N675.1m.

The detective said, “The MD of Fidelity Bank has been arrested and is currently in our custody. During investigations into the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, we got a major breakthrough as funds disbursed were traced to Fidelity Bank.

“We invited the MD, who then confessed to us that during the build-up to the presidential election, Diezani invited him to a meeting in Abuja. Diezani told him that some companies would deposit some funds in his bank and that she would give him further instructions on how the funds would be disbursed.

“The first company, Auctus Integrated, deposited $17,884,000 into the bank. The second company, Northern Belt Gas Company, deposited $60m while another company, Midwestern Oil and Gas, deposited $9.5m. A fourth company, Leno Laitan Adesanya, deposited $1.85m while the MD himself received $26m in cash.”

The source alleged that Diezani’s son, Ugonna Madueke, later served as a middleman between the former minister and the MD of the bank.

He said it was Diezani’s son who forwarded the names of the beneficiaries of the funds, which included INEC officials and several interest groups as well as election monitors, who were expected to compromise the electoral process.

He said, “The MD said it was Diezani’s son that sent him a list of beneficiaries which included several INEC officials and election monitors across the 36 states. Diezani specifically instructed that the funds be disbursed at least a day or two before the elections. The total amount of money was $115m and Diezani told the bank to convert the funds into naira, which was about N23.3bn at the time.

“However, the suspects told us that the volume of money was too big and they had problems converting the funds. So, Diezani told the bank MD to use the bank’s funds and hold on to the dollars as collateral and that after elections, the bank could use the dollars to replace the bank funds.”

The source stated that Diezani did not operate any account with the bank and wondered why Okonkwo would allow himself to be used in such a manner.

“He may be charged with conspiracy once we are done with investigations,” the source said. The PUNCHhad reported that a wristwatch worth £600,000 was seized from Diezani during a raid on one of her houses.

The ex-minister, who is currently battling cancer, was last year arrested by the National Crimes Agency in the United Kingdom for sundry allegations.

Under her watch as one of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s most powerful ministers, dubious oil marketers stole trillions of naira of oil subsidy money.

The then Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (now the Emir of Kano), alleged that $20bn was missing from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, an allegation which led to his suspension and replacement.

She had, however, denied all allegations of corruption levelled against her. The family lawyer, Oscar Onwudiwe, who had, in a statement, denied allegations against the former minister, said, “The Madueke family, like most other families, has its own challenges. For instance, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has been receiving treatment for cancer in the UK.”

All attempts to speak with the spokesperson for Fidelity Bank, Mr. Ejike Ndiulo, proved abortive as his telephone indicated that it was switched off.

However, a senior official of the bank, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the bank would issue a statement on Thursday (today).

“We don’t have all the facts of the case yet. However, we will issue a statement on the matter on Thursday,” he said.

Punch

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Revealed: INEC Chiefs Got N23.3b From Ex-minister Diezani’s For 2015 Polls

There seems to be more trouble for embattled former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is probing her involvement in a $115m (N23, 299,705,000billion) 2015 election bribery scandal.

The anti-graft agency has detained two bankers in connection with the scandal.

The agency has launched a manhunt for Ugonna Madueke, the former minister’s son.

Besides, four companies implicated in the bribe-for-results scandal during the 2015 general elections are under probe.

The companies are: Northern Belt Gas Company Limited; Auctus Integrated; Midwestern Oil and Gas; and Leno Laitan Adesanya.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River State, Gesil Khan  and four others are undergoing interrogation over the N681million the allegedly got from the bribe.

She allegedly got N185, 842,000 from the deal.

The other suspects  and the alleged bribe 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.

During its preliminary investigations, the EFCC discovered that the N23.29billion was shared to INEC officials in all the 36 states, some individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations(NGOs), which deployed election monitors.

Arrested by the EFCC are Fidelity Bank Managing Director Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo and the bank’s Head of Operations, Mr. Martin Izuogbe.

The list of all beneficiaries, who received funds through Fidelity Bank branches nationwide, was being compiled last night.

A source in EFCC, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent,  said: “We are looking at a case of conspiracy between Fidelity Bank and the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to bribe INEC officials to rig the 2015 presidential election nationwide.

“There was a time Diezani invited the MD of Fidelity Bank Nnamdi Okonkwo and told him that the owners of the four companies will come and drop some money and the MD should keep the money separately and await instructions on what to do.

“The companies gave these  amounts to the MD of Fidelity Bank as follows: Northern Belt Gas Company Limited ($60m); Auctus Integrated ($17,884,000); Midwestern Oil and Gas ($9.5m); and Leno Laitan Adesanya ($1.85m).

“On her part, Diezani sent $25.77million(approximately $26m) to the MD with all the funds totaling $115million (N23, 299,705,000billion).

“A day or two before the presidential election, she gave  a distribution list to the  Fidelity Bank Plc MD and instructed that the $115million be changed into Naira and shared to INEC officials  in the 36 states, some individuals and NGOs.

“The MD said there was no way the bank could meet up with the conversion of the $115million into Naira and distribute at the same time. Diezani pleaded with the MD to use the Naira in the bank’s vault. She said if the bank changed the dollars later, it could make Naira replacement. That was how the money was distributed to INEC officials in 36 states, some individuals and NGOs.

“The MD instructed the bank’s Head of Operations, Martin Izuogbe, to communicate with all Fidelity Bank branches to effect the distribution of the cash to alter the presidential election poll results.”

The source added: “We have arrested and detained the MD of Fidelity Bank since Monday. But we picked up the Head of Operations on Wednesday.

“They are undergoing intense grilling and we may not release them until we have completed investigations.

“About N681million out of the funds was disbursed to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Cross River State and four others.

“It is obvious that more Resident Electoral Commissioners and INEC officials will soon be invited for interrogation.”

On the manhunt for the son of the ex-Minister, the top source added: “Ugonna Madueke was at the meeting in her mother’s house when everything was perfected with the MD of the bank. He allegedly gave some instructions too.

“We are looking for him for interaction.”

The EFCC shocked the embattled Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River State, Gesil Khan, with the video evidence which was retrieved from  the CCTV tape showing how the transactions were carried out in a bank.

She allegedly got about N185,842,000 from the deal, which she denied.

The development has set the stage for the grilling of the REC and four others, The Nation learnt.

About a fortnight ago, the EFCC arrested some top INEC officials in connection with massive bribery during last year’s elections.

The other suspects  and the bribe 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, Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo—N214,127,000.

Besides, some sensitive election materials meant for the 2015 presidential and senatorial polls were retrieved from the homes of some of the suspects.

EFCC operatives also recovered also many documents on financial and landed properties from the homes of the embattled  INEC officials .

Some of the documents include receipts of payments made into their accounts.

The suspects allegedly got the bribe in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

There are indications that many INEC officials and ad hoc workers benefitted from the bribe.

A top EFCC source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “The actual amount involved  in the deal was N681million. When we began investigation, the REC denied involvement in any transaction relating to the scandal.

“Each time we questioned her, she refused to own up. We had no choice but to confront her with a CCTV clip of how she went to a bank to identify one Peter Popnen (who is on the run) to collect N185, 842,000.

“At this stage, she had no choice but to admit. She is still in detention pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation. If she hadn’t wasted time in owning up, the investigation would have reached a convenient bend to admit her to bail.

“The truth is that with modern technology, there is no hiding place for anybody again.”

The EFCC yesterday released a former Minister of Finance Mrs. Nenadi Usman on health grounds.

Her movement is, however, restricted to the country ahead of her appearance for more grilling next week on the over N4billion in her company’s accounts for the 2015 campaign.

But she has signed an undertaking to refund about N140million credited to her personally out of the slush funds, which were transferred to an account titled “Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited”.

Also, the EFCC yesterday invited some aides of former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode, and  coordinators who worked with him at the Presidential Campaign Organisation.

Fani-Kayode allegedly got about N840million from the cash which was withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but wired through Mrs Usman’s company.

Details of how the cash was shared are: Fani-Kayode (N840million); Goodluck Support Group (N320million); Achike Udenwa and Viola Onwuliri (N350million); Nenadi Usman (N140million); and Okey Ezenwa (N100million).

Another EFCC source added: “Nenadi was released on health grounds but she has to come back next week for another round of interrogation. Her passport has been seized and her movement restricted to the country.

“Already, she has signed an undertaking to pay back N140million, being the personal sum credited to her out of the cash under investigation.

“She has made two houses available in Abuja in respect of the remaining sums being probed in her company’s account.

“We have, however, not concluded investigation. For instance, some aides and coordinators who worked with one of those implicated, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, were summoned to Lagos for interaction.

“Some of these suspects are undergoing grilling, which involves funds remitted into their accounts and disbursement.

“We will recover every kobo from the beneficiaries of these slush funds.”

TheNation

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INEC Suspends Collation Of Results In Bloody Rivers Rerun Election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last night suspended further action on Rivers State rerun elections into the National Assembly and the House of Assembly.

It said it decided to take the action because several permanent and ad hoc officials had been attacked. Some were abducted and taken to unknown destinations.

The electoral agency said the tense atmosphere had only enabled it to collate and declare results in only one Federal and nine state constituencies.

But the suspension does not affect the constituencies where the process has been completed and the results declared by the Returning Officers.

A statement last night by INEC’s Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze- Uzzi, said: “Pursuant to the Orders of the Court of Appeal, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted elections into various seats in the National and the Rivers State House of Assembly yesterday, the 19th of March, 2016.

“Rather unfortunately, some of these elections witnessed the disruption of the process, including the barricading of some of the INEC Local Government offices and Registration Area Centres (RACs) used for the distribution of Electoral materials which led to the late commencement of the exercise in some places and consequently, its smooth take off.

“Of more serious concern was the level of threats, violence and intimidation of election officials and voters by well armed thugs and miscreants allegedly acting on behalf of some politicians, which marred the elections in some areas.

“There were reports of numerous attacks resulting in fatalities, kidnappings, ballot snatching, diversion of officials and materials, amongst others, which necessitated its suspension in 8 Local Government Areas.

“Regrettably, such deviant behaviour has continued today. Several permanent and ad hoc staff engaged have been attacked, again resulting in fatalities, while some have been forcibly abducted and taken to presently unknown destinations.

“Under such difficult circumstance, the Returning Officers were only able to collate and declare results in 1 Federal and 9 State constituencies where the disruption and malpractices were not so widespread.

“Having reviewed the situation, the Commission is compelled to suspend all further action concerning the exercise in all the other constituencies in the State pending the receipt of a comprehensive report from its Field Officials and Monitors.

“For the avoidance of doubt, it should be noted that the suspension does not affect the constituencies where the exercise has been completed and the results declared by the Returning Officers.”

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INEC, IGP Dismiss Rivers Gov Wike’s Rigging Allegation As Baseless

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Professor Mahmoud Yakubu and the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Solomon Arase have dismissed allegation by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike that the electoral body was plotting to rig Saturday’s National and State Assemblies re-run elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) as baseless.

Governor Wike had on Tuesday while addressing the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) campaign rally in the State claimed that the INEC National Commissioner, Amina Zakari had arrived Port Harcourt with prepared result sheets to declare results in favour of the APC candidates in the scheduled election.

But speaking at a joint press briefing with the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, INEC chairman declared that Governor Wike’s allegation was unfounded and could not be substantiated. Professor Yakubu told newsmen that materials for the election were just arriving Port Harcourt today.

According to him “The allegation was that the Commissioner arrived Port Harcourt with results sheets. This isn’t true. As we speak, we are moving the election materials to Rivers state. That allegation is absolutely untrue.

“The materials he was talking about yesterday (Tuesday) is just arriving   Port Harcourt today (Wednesday). It isn’t right to say INEC Commissioner is coming to Rivers state with results sheets in advance of voting.”

Reiterating the resolve of the Commission to remain impartial and insulate its men from undue influence by the political actors, INEC chairman further declared that “None of the Electoral Officers currently posted as Heads of our Local Government offices in Rivers state will participate in the election. Instead, they will be confined to the INEC headquarters in Port Harcourt where no election day activity is taking place.

“We have drawn the EOs from 15 states of the federation and the INEC headquarters who shall return to their duty posts at the conclusion of the election. Similarly, the Head of Operations and the Administrative Secretary have been redeployed from other states.”

The INEC chairman who also revealed that the electoral body has engaged 24, 930 ad-hoc staff drawn from the National Youth Service Corps( NYSC) and students of three federal tertiary institutions, 379 Collation Officers and 37 Returning Officers for Saturday’s exercise assured the electorate “that INEC has taken every measure and every precaution to ensure free, fair and secure election on Saturday. All personnel involved in the election have been warned against compromising the processes and procedures in any way whatsoever and violators will be severely sanctioned.”

In his remarks, the IGP, Solomon Arase said the Police was determined to protect all political actors across party divides and would also “deal firmly, swiftly and professionally with any individual regardless of his or her political leaning or status who may want to test the will of law enforcement agents by threatening public order, endangering the lives of the electorate, or engaging in any act that is capable of threatening the electoral process.”

Arase further disclosed that the Police have identified individuals who are poised to make themselves available as political thugs to threaten the peaceful conduct of Saturday exercise in Rivers state.

“I can assure you that appropriate mechanisms have been duly put in place to prevent these anti-democratic elements from manifesting their criminal intent, ” Arase stressed.

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INEC Bars Fresh Candidates From participating In Re-run Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disqualified fresh candidates that may want to participate in the re-run elections scheduled for February and March in some states across the country.

INEC in a public notice yesterday argued that since it is not a general election, it is against the Electoral Act for fresh candidates to contest in the re-run, warning that the same candidates and the political parties that contested the first elections should take part.

Part of the notice reads: “Following consultations with major stakeholders in the electoral process and the public interest in the subject, the Independent National Electoral Commission at its meeting on Monday considered and approved dates for the conduct of elections as ordered by the Court of Appeal.

“Consequent upon the judgements of the court, the Commission will conduct the elections in 69 of the constituencies with the same political parties and their respective candidates who participated in the annulled elections in Gombe, Adamawa, Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, and Rivers.”

Revealing that the elections would hold between February 13 and March 19, 2016, the Commission emphasized that only the same candidates and political parties that participated in the first election will take part in the re-run, adding that the senate election in Abia North will be held in 43 polling booths.

The public notice further specified that while senatorial elections will take place in five states like Abia, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Benue and Rivers, after which re-runs into the House of Representatives and State Assemblies will hold.

Giving further breakdown of the elections, INEC disclosed that in Abia State, six State Constituency elections will hold in 124 polling units, three senatorial seats and 12 federal Constituencies will be contested in all the constituencies, adding that about 18 State Assembly seats will be contested.

“The Commission further gives notice that the political parties and candidates entitled to participate in the elections in the other 11 constituencies are contained in detailed lists of elections”, it added.

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APC Has Already Written Bayelsa Election Result, PDP Alleges… Accuses INEC, Security Agencies Of Connivance

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has again alleged that the All Progressives Congress ( APC) was plotting to ensure victory for its governorship candidate, Timpire Sylva in tomorrow’s supplementary election in Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State,

The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) had declared the election held last December inconclusive following the violence that marred the exercise in Southern Ijaw local government, which has a voting strength of over 120,000 registered voters.

In a statement signed by the acting national chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus the party accused INEC and security agencies of alleged connivance to rig the election for Timpire Sylva, as he further claimed that APC has already written the results of the poll.

According to him “Southern Ijaw is the home of former governor of the state, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a known Ijaw leader. The state is politically divided into Nembe, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw, that is the LGA of Ijaws where the governor, Seriake Dickson is from.

“This is the strongest home base of the PDP. PDP has been winning elections in this core Ijaw LGA because it is the ancestral home of all Ijaws where the former governor and Ijaw leader DSP Alamiseigha and Dickson hail from.

“Intelligence report at our disposal shows that the election is just a mere formality as results have been written with INEC standing as the main culprit.

“There is the use of Police and military personnel to intimidate voters and also scare them away as results are already written as directed.”

He further noted that the desperation to win the Bayelsa governorship election was part of the ruling party’s grand plot to have a stronghold in the South-south. “All ministers and government officials from the zone have been directed to ensure that Bayelsa is delivered to APC at all cost.”

Secondus therefore called on the international community to be aware of this plot by the APC controlled Federal Government to win the Bayelsa state governorship election at all cost, while expressing concern over the dire consequences of hurting the nascent democracy in Nigeria.

The acting chairman of the PDP declared that Nigerians and the global community should hold the APC responsible should the present democracy be frustrated owing to what he called the ignoble mission of the APC to turn the country into a one party state.

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