INEC probes 202 officials over N23bn bribe

 ABUJA— The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is currently probing 202 of its personnel suspected to have benefited from a N23 billion bribe offered them during the 2015 general elections. This is even as the commission now suffers shortage of 33 Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, as four will be retiring this weekend to join 29 RECs, who had exited service in October last year. INEC boss, Mahmood Yakubu INEC National Commissioner, May Agbamuche-Mbu, who disclosed these during a media interface, yesterday, in Abuja, added that 29 INEC officials indicted by either the Police probe panel or the commission’s administrative panel had been referred for disciplinary action. “By March 4, four more Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, will complete their tenure. This is in addition to the 29 RECs, who had earlier completed their tenure with the commission,” she said. The four RECs, who are leaving the commission are Prof. Jacob Jatau (FCT), Mr. Segun Agbaje (Ondo), Austin Okogie (Bayelsa), and Mr. Nasir Ayilara (Niger). She said the 202 INEC staff from 14 states, who were indicted by a report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for benefiting from the alleged N23 billion bribe in 2015 were currently facing an internal administrative panel and would know their fate next week. INEC redeploys senior mgt staff in Rivers Flanked by two other national commissioners, Prof. Okey Ibeanu and Malam Mohammed Haruna, Mrs Agbamuche-Mbu said in line with the recommendations made by the disciplinary panel on the misconduct during the Rivers re-run election, the commission has redeployed all senior management staff in its Rivers State office. The affected officers include the Administrative Secretary, all Heads of Departments, Deputy Directors and Assistant Directors as well as all 23 local government electoral officers. On the processes being pursued to get all those indicted of election misconduct punished, Agbamuche-Mbu said: “You may recall that last year, the commission received a report from the EFCC in which some staff were accused of certain infractions. “A total of 202 INEC officials from 14 states were mentioned in the report. Based on the EFCC’s interim report, the commission subsequently queried and invited them to appear before an administrative panel.” She also added that 72 political associations had now applied to the commission for registration as political parties. According to a staff nominal roll seen by Vanguard, those whose tenures have expired are Ahmad Makama (Bauchi), Haliru Tambuwal (Sokoto), Abdullahi Umar Danyaya (Niger), Abubakar Wara (Kebbi), Mike Igini (Delta), Prof. Salina Omagha Oko (Ebonyi) and Hussaini Ahmed Mahuta (Katsina). Others are Dr A.L Ogunmola (Oyo), Ibrahim Zarewa (Kano), Prof. Tukur Za’ad (Adamawa), Dr Emmanuel Onucheyo (Kogi), Kassim Gana Gaidam (Yobe), Timothy Ibitoye (Osun), Dr Rufus Akeju (Lagos), Prof. C.E Onukaogu, Ibrahim Bagobiri Marafa (Zamfara), Sadiq Abubakar Musa (Kaduna), Engr. Edwin Nwatarali (Enugu) and Hussaini Halilu Pai (FCT). The list also includes Dr Kwanga Godwin (Benue), Akinyemi Orebiyi (Ogun), Istifanus Ishaku (Plateau), late Minkaila Abdullahi (Jigawa), Samuel Madaki (Taraba), Dr Lawrence Azubuike (Imo), Dr Ogbudu Gabriel (Cross River), Sylvester Okey Ezeani (Anambra), Sam Olumekun (Ondo) and Gesila Khan (Bayelsa). Also, Baritor Lenusikpugi (Rivers), Habu Zarma Hinna (Gombe) and Ikoiwak Abasi (Akwa Ibom) would exit the commission in July. President Muhammadu Buhari is saddled with the responsibility of appointing the RECS.

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