Suspends 205 Staff; 70 Others For Further Probe, Prosecution
· Says Staff Received N3.046bn Bribe Money From NGO
Management of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday rose from a meeting to consider the report of its expanded Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee on the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Interim Report on N23bn Bribery Corruption and Money Laundering Charges During the 2015 General Elections.
In a statement by the commission after the meeting, said based on strict adherence to its Staff Conditions of Service, “the cases of one former National Commissioner, five former Resident Electoral Commissioners (one of them deceased) have been referred to the Presidency and EFCC for further necessary action.”
Also, based on their level of involvement, it said 205 serving staff of the commission will be immediately suspended from duties and placed on half salary, pending the final determination of cases they have with the EFCC; while another 70 with “insufficient information regarding their involvement will be referred back to EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution.”
The INEC Committee established that there was “a clear attempt to bribe INEC staff to influence the outcome of the 2015 general elections using an NGO, the West African Network of Election Observers (WANEO), made up mainly of retired senior INEC officials.”
It was also discovered that out of the over N23bn the EFCC report said was used to influence the elections, N3.046bn was received by INEC staff in 16 States through WANEO, which has been immediately blacklisted from election observation and any other activities organised by INEC, along with its principal promoters.
Recalling the genesis of the investigation, the commission said it received late last year, an Interim Report from the EFCC detailing allegations against 202 serving and retired officials and staff in 16 States of the Federation.
The statement said that in line with its zero tolerance for corruption in the electoral process, ordered a thorough investigation into the allegations to establish the culpability or otherwise of those named in the EFCC Report and that after a thorough and painstaking investigation, queries were issued to the 202 staff indicted in the report, who were subsequently interviewed individually for offer them fair hearing and in consonance with INEC Staff Conditions of Service.
This effort, the commission continued, led to the discovery of additional 80 of its serving officials who were not named in the EFCC report and were also queried and interviewed.
The commission, in its statement reiterated its “commitment to defending the integrity of the electoral process. Therefore, it will continue to take stern action against its officials who compromise its core values of integrity, transparency and impartiality in the conduct of elections.”