Tue, Oct 03, 2023

Take us to Rivers for trial not Abuja, 23 INEC officials accused of bribery dare FG

Take us to Rivers for trial not Abuja, 23 INEC officials accused of bribery dare FG

Twenty- three officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, accused of receiving N360 million from Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, during the December 10, 2016, re-reun election in the state, Tuesday, declined to enter their pleas to charges preferred against them by the federal government.

The INEC officials insisted that they would not be tried in Abuja over a crime they allegedly committed in Rivers state. They challenged the territorial jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Abuja to hear the seven-count charge against them.

The federal government in the charge, alleged that the N360 million was proceed of  Wike’s criminal conduct which it said constituted economic and financial crime. It alleged that the accused persons had, between December 7 and 10, 2016, converted, concealed and taken possession of the sum of N360 million bribe in violation of various provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment, etc) Act, 2004.

Those dragged before the court were Shittu Lamido (Shettima), Henry Owokure, Peter Ewatade, Mary Jummai, Tunkoyo Pennap, Gwatana Jibril, Ivase Stephen, Abdullahi Ogabo, Gayus Hassan, Hussaina Yahaya, James Ogwuche, Karimu Aminu and Adedokun Najeem Ayotunde. Others include, Balogun Funmilayo, Adams Kadiri, Akinwande Adesoji, Lukeman Olabimpe, Tiamiyu Arowolo, Akinwoye Amodu, Nwoha Yusuf, Patrick Anuke, Iro Abali, Nwosu Oluchi and Arukwe Chinelo.

The defendants who appeared before trial Justice John Tsoho, also declined to enter their plea to the charge. The prosecution counsel, A.K Aliyu who is an Assistant Chief State Counsel in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, sought an adjournment to enable him react to the motion.

Meanwhile, Justice Tsoho has adjourned the case to April 7 to hear the defendants’ objection to their planned trial in Abuja.



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