What is the source of the $115 million bribe for election officials to alter the results of the 2015 presidential election?
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) believes the money came from proceeds of stolen crude oil.
“Our operatives have discovered that the $115 million came from stolen crude oil. They got it from former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke,” a top EFCC official said yesterday.
The official pleaded not to be named because of what he described as the “sensitivity of the matter.”
He added: “We will uncover how they came about the stolen crude oil and those used to siphon the oil in order to deny the nation of revenue.”
The EFCC has frozen all the accounts of top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and oil chiefs implicated in the $115m (N23.29b) bribery.
This, said another source, is in preparation for the arraignment of some suspects, including Fidelity Bank Managing Director Nnamdi Okonkwo.
Charges might also be preferred against Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who investigators believe is central to the coordination of the huge bribe given to poll officials to alter the 2015 presidential election results.
Besides, the EFCC plans to arrest owners of oil companies believed to have contributed the cash because they have failed to report for interrogation.
“Our operatives are on the trail of members of the cartel behind the theft of crude.
“We have blocked all the accounts of all the INEC officials, bank officials and oil chiefs connected with the poll bribery scandal,” the source said.
Also yesterday, The Nation learnt that the embattled Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Cross River State, Mrs. Gesil Khan, was granted administrative bail on Sunday.
She is expected to report at the EFCC office today as part of the conditions for the bail.
Others have also been granted bail, pending their trial.
Mrs. Khan is to be reporting to the EFCC’s office on scheduled dates agreed with her.
On the owners of the oil firms allegedly involved in the scandal, the top EFCC source added: “We have quizzed Leno Adesanya, but it is apparent that we have to arrest others this week because they have refused to show up for interrogation.
“Certainly, we are closing in on more suspects whom we will pick up before the week runs out.”
As at last night, the EFCC was finalizing plans to arraign some suspects on the bribery.
Those pencilled for trial are Diezani (in absentia), Okonkwo and Fidelity Bank’s Head of Operations, Martin Izuogbe, Mrs. Khan (for collecting N185, 842,000 out of an N681million bribe); Fidelia Omoile( Electoral Officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State)—N112,480,000 ; Uluochi Obi-Brown( INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Delta State)—N111,500,000; a former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River State, Edem Okon Effanga—N241,127,000 and the Head of Voter Education in INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo—N214,127,000.
The source added: “Very soon, we will arraign them in court. Some of them have admitted that they shared out of the bribe sum. Having recovered more than N408.7million from some of the beneficiaries of the slush funds, we are set for trial.
“As for the bank, it even refunded N49.7m profit made from the deal. With this, the culpability of the bank is not doubtful at all.
“Since we have blocked or frozen some accounts, we can recover this ill-gotten cash through the court process.”