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Diezani’s Slush Fund: Arrest Iwu, S’West RECs now, Group Tells EFCC

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), which is a coalition of over 150 anti corruption organization, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), to immediately commence investigation into the alleged involvement ‎of some officials of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) for alleged bribery during the 2015 elections conducted by the commission.

In a petition forwarded to ‎the anti-graft agency and signed by CSNAC’s chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the coalition said the anti-graft agency must not spare anyone involved in the ‘deal’, adding that it observed that the current investigation seems incomplete and in-exhaustive.

The petition reads in part: “We refer to reports in The Nations Newspaper of Monday 16th, January 2017 which stated that not fewer than 200 Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) officials have been queried for allegedly collecting bribe during the 2015 elections. It was reported that about N23.29billion was allegedly paid out to INEC officials in a desperate bid to change the results of the election, won by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“In addition to the above, it was further stated that an investigation conducted by your agency revealed that the money involved came from former Oil Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke. We are also aware that the INEC is currently investigating the said allegations, having constituted a panel headed by National Commissioner, Baba Shettima Arfo with a view to probe and apply internal sanctions where any of the officials is found wanting and also subsequently release such culprit to your Commission for prosecution.”

While giving its nod for the development because it is capable of ridding the electoral process of unsavoury corrupt practices, CSNAC however highlighted some grey areas of complaint in the commission’s current approach to the said investigation.

“It is our observation that the current investigation seems incomplete and in-exhaustive. These shortcomings could be misconstrued as an attempt at conferring favor on some sacred cows, in view of some of the major corruption related incidences, involving INEC officials which were widely reported during the elections but not included in the commission’s current investigation report.

“The following are some of the issues we will like the EFCC to note in respect of the ongoing INEC investigation as they impart on the credibility and acceptability of same:

“It was revealed that the Resident Electoral Commissioners in the entire 36 states of the federation were billed to partake in the sharing of the said N23 billion bribe, however the current probe by the INEC does not cover all the states’ RECs neither has it revealed the source(s) which eliminated some of the RECs from the ongoing probe.

“It must be noted that the RECs in the South-West and North-West states are not included in the probe neither are the administrative secretaries which we have strong reasons to believe are participis criminis in the said bribery scam. Also, Prof. Maurice Iwu who was reportedly recruited for the disbursement of the bribery fund was not mentioned in the investigation or invited for interrogation.

“This report fails to consider and interrogate some RECs reported to have who volunteered to resign at the wake of the scandal. We believe this approach is against the tenets of justice as mere resignation from office ought not to be sufficient in the face of the weight of the alleged offences.

“The particular popular cases of Mr. Okogie who was indicted in the Akwa-Ibom elections was not slated for the said investigations and the grounds for such exoneration even in the face of public awareness of same is unknown.

“Also, Mr. Soyebi who fought one Mr. Onyema Ugochukwu in Abia over bribe money during the Abia state elections was not presented for investigations in the current probe.

“CSNAC hereby wishes to draw your attention to the aforementioned issues towards ensuring that all the alleged participants in the bribery scam and those indicted in the National Human Rights Commission reports on the 2015 are brought to book regardless of whose ox is gored. We are of the view that no sacred cows should be entertained in the fight against corruption.

“We are confident in your statutory powers to address the above issues in line with the relevant anti corruption laws and statutes and thereby look forward to your urgent action in that re‎gard,” the statement said.

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