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Friday, 10 February 2017 07:26

N360m alleged Wike bribe: INEC vows to deal with culpable staff Featured

Written by Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
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Bribe money recovered by the Nigerian Police from electoral officials. Bribe money recovered by the Nigerian Police from electoral officials. Credits: premiumtimesng.com

...Bribery allegation is shameful - Wike  

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it was yet to receive the report of the Police panel that investigated activities surrounding the Dec. 10, 2016 parliamentary re-run polls in Rivers.

The panel, which was constituted by police high command, submitted report to the Inspector-General of Police on Tuesday in Abuja.

The report said that N111 million was recovered from 23 INEC officials that participated in the elections.

The recovered cash was displayed during the presentation of the report at Police Headquarters,

INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, told newsmen in Abuja that the commission had not been briefed on the report by anybody on it.

He said that when it would see the report and the indictment, INEC would support all processes to prosecute the people allegedly involved the alleged bribery.

Chairman of the panel, Mr. Damian Okoro, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, made the allegation while presenting the team’s report to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, in Abuja on Tuesday.

He alleged that three senior election officials collected N20 million each out of the N360 million allegedly given to key officials by the state governor, Nyesom Wike.

He said the other officials received N15 million each.

According to Okoro, there are some cases of misconduct on the part of some electoral officers, who were compromised in the line of duty

Osaze-Uzzi said: “We await the police report. Just like everybody saw it on the media that was how we also saw it.

“As at today, they have not communicated to say this is the report.

“We know the panel has submit report to the IG, maybe, he will study it and avail us with the report if need be.”

The director said that the commission would allow the law to take its course on any of its staff members indicted in the alleged bribe.

“If any of our staff has been found culpable, we will deal with him appropriately and then allow the law to take its course.

“If they are charged to court, then normal administrative process will follow.

“If they are convicted, necessary action will be taken. If they are not convicted, we will examine if they have committed any administrative breach.

“If they have committed any administrative breach we will deal with that administratively, while the police will deal with the criminal aspect of it,” he added.

“We are determined to weed out any bad egg from the system,” he said.

Osaze-Uzzi said that the commission had been cooperating with the special investigative panel and the police on the matter.

The police panel investigating the Rivers Rerun election of December 10, 2016 had, on Tuesday, February 7, 2016, displayed wads of N100 million cash as evidence that Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike, bribed electoral officers in a bid to swing victory the way of the PDP during the vote.

But the Rivers State government, in a statement by its Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr Austin Tam-George, said the police has once again shown how shameful and reckless it has become.

The Governor challenged the police authorities to tender fool-proof evidence that he financially induced officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The statement reads: “The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to the melodramatic images of heaps of cash, circulated in the media by the so-called police panel of inquiry into the re-run elections in Rivers State, on the 10th of December 2016.

“According to the Police, the heaps of money were “evidence” of bribe allegedly given to officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, during the rerun polls.

“We consider the allegations of the Police as shameful, defamatory and reckless in the extreme. Never in the annals of infamy have we seen a vital State security institution descend to the lowest depths of blackmail and criminality, as the Nigeria Police Force has done in this case.

“A month ago, we alerted the world to the dark, Orwellian plot by the Nigeria Police to implicate Governor Wike in a phoney bribe scandal. Now, the Police appears to be acting with shocking predictability, by making wild and completely groundless allegations against Wike.

“The Rivers State Government challenges the Nigeria Police to show proof that Governor Wike financially induced any official of INEC.

“Does the Police have Bank records of the purported transactions between Governor Wike and the Electoral Officers? We challenge the Nigeria Police to move quickly to prosecute and imprison the so-called Electoral Officers on the basis of this dubious investigation.

“We strongly believe that the police panel is part of a bitter, politically-driven smear campaign launched by the Federal Government against Governor Nyesom Wike, and the people of Rivers State.

“We also believe that the Police is desperately seeking to divert attention from the disgraceful and criminal roles played by its officials, in the snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes during the December polls.

“Rivers State will not succumb to the juvenile antics of the All Progressives Congress and its security surrogates.”

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