Diezani bribe: Fate of indicted RECs lies with EFCC, says Presidency

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Diezani bribe: Fate of indicted RECs lies with EFCC, says Presidency

Diezani bribe: Fate of indicted RECs lies with EFCC, says Presidency
April 19
05:42 2017

The Presidency on Tuesday said the fate of a former National Commissioner and former Resident Electoral Commissioners indicted for purportedly receiving part of the N23bn alleged to have been disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, ahead of the 2015 general election, would be decided by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an interview with our correspondent.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had suspended 205 officials over the bribe and referred the cases of a former National Commissioner and five former RECs (one deceased) to the Presidency and the EFCC for further action and investigation.

A National Commissioner and member of the Information and Voter Education Committee at INEC, Mallam Mohammed Haruna, had told journalists that the decision to refer the national commissioner and the RECs to the Presidency and the EFCC was because it was not within the powers of the commission to deal with the cases involving them.

But Shehu told our correspondent that the decision on what to do with the indicted persons would be taken by the EFCC.

He said the Presidency was only notified of the development in case President Muhammadu Buhari was planning to re-appoint the indicted persons or give them higher assignments.

The presidential spokesman explained that the President would be trampling on the independence of the EFCC and INEC if he decided to take a decision on the matter for them.

Shehu said, “It is true that INEC referred the case of a National Commissioner and five RECs, one of them deceased, to the EFCC and the Presidency because they are political appointees.

“The truth, however, is that the EFCC is the agency investigating the matter and it is the commission that will decide what to do with the indicted persons.

“The notice sent to the Presidency is meant to just notify the President that there are cases against these persons in case he wants to re-appoint them or give them higher responsibilities.

“The independence of INEC and EFCC will be compromised if the President should take a decision on the persons.”

The acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, had last week said the commission would prosecute all the officials of INEC indicted of corruption in the conduct of the 2015 general election.

Magu had disclosed this while receiving the Chairman of INEC, Mahmud Yakubu, who led other management staff of the electoral body on a courtesy visit to the EFCC head office, Abuja.

“We are already prosecuting some of the INEC staff, we have started in Lagos and we are in the process in Port-Harcourt, Kano and Gombe,” he had told his guests.

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