Friday , 23 August 2019

Diezani poll cash: EFCC to arraign ex-INEC chair Iwu over N1.2b scam

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Maurice Iwu is to face trial for alleged laundering of N1.2billion.

Iwu, who has been interrogated by the EFCC, was said to have been involved in the N23.29billion poll bribery scandal which characterized the 2015 poll.

Although charges have been filed against Iwu, it was unclear last night when the ex-INEC chairman will be formally arraigned.

A source said: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to arraign a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Maurice Iwu.

“Iwu will be arraigned at a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos on a four-count charge bordering on money laundering.

“Iwu is alleged to have between December 2014 and March 2015, aided the concealment of the sum of N1, 203,000,000 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira)

“The said sum was in the bank account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited domiciled in the United Bank for Africa, UBA Plc.

A reliable source, who gave insights into the investigation of Iwu, said: “The cash in question was about the poll bribery scandal in 2015.

“Iwu has been implicated in the N23.29billion poll bribery scam perpetrated by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

“He was accused of allegedly using an NGO, West African Network of Electoral Observers, in the facilitation of bribery to top officials of the electoral commission. We have been on this case since 2016.

“We gave Iwu enough time to appear before us for interrogation. After series of quizzing and thorough perusal of relevant documents, we are set for his trial.”

The Acting Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, said: “We will soon arraign the ex-INEC chairman.”

But Orilade was not forthcoming on the details.

The EFCC has been investigating the bribery scandal which was allegedly facilitated by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

About four oil firms, some directors of some oil companies, two banks and some politicians more than 283 staff of INEC are under probe.

Also, about 205 staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are on trial in connection with the biggest electoral fraud in the country.

Many of the indicted INEC staff and politicians have owned up and refunded huge sums of money to the EFCC.

More than N3.4billion in cash has been recovered apart from choice assets seized by the anti-graft agency.

Some choice assets belonging to the affected staff have been placed under Interim Asset Forfeiture until the determination of cases against them.

Apart from the EFCC’s findings, INEC’s panel, headed by a National Commissioner, Baba Arfo Shettima made shocking discoveries as follows:

• An NGO, West African Network of Electoral Observers, was used to share the bribe to INEC

• A former chairman of INEC (names withheld) coordinated the large-scale bribery scandal.

• Many former Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and retired Administrative Secretaries were used to penetrate INEC in all the 36 states for the bribery to alter poll results

• Some serving RECs and directors benefitted from the bribery scandal as confirmed by EFCC’s investigations

• A REC collected between N107million and N140million bribe

• While some RECs and INEC staff collected as much as over N100m, others were given as low as N150, 000 to compromise the electoral system.

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