The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has appealed to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate Justice Inyang Okoro's allegations of bribery against Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi and Akwa Ibom State gubernatorial candidate Umana Umana.
The group made the appeal in a petition penned by CSNAC Chairman Olanrewaju Suraju, saying that the ICPC should investigate the implicated individuals without delay as part of the current administration's efforts to end corruption in Nigeria.
Inyang Okoro, one of the judges arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS), alleged that Mr. Amaechi and Mr. Umana tried to bribe him to influence the court appeals over contested gubernatorial races in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Abia States. The justice said Mr. Amaechi visited his home and told him that he received instructions from the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to ensure their candidates, including Mr. Umana, win the appealed State elections.
Mr. Umana also visited Mr. Okoro's residence and offered him a bribe in exchange for fixing the Supreme Court appeal case deciding the outcome of the Akwa Ibom State election. Mr. Amaechi, according to the justice, sponsored Mr. Umana as the APC governorship candidate, and allegedly told Mr. Okoro that if he loses the Akwa Ibom State election, he would "lose a fortune."
"If Justice Okoro's allegation is anything to go by, then he definitely has a case to answer with the Commission," the CSNAC petition read. "By virtue of Section 23 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2000, Public Officers are duty bound to report bribery transactions."
The group called on Mr. Okoro to further substantiate his claims, as his allegations of bribery do not contain enough evidence or information to effectively investigate Mr. Amaechi and Mr. Umana.
"By virtue of the above stated section [Section 23], Justice Okoro had a duty to report the attempt to bribe him by Messrs. Amaechi and Umana. His failure to do same and only resorting to use the information as a first line of defense against the raid by the State Security Service will not exonerate him from the offense committed under the Act," CSNAC explained.
Should Mr. Okoro refuse to provide more information on the bribery attempts, he could face prosecution, according to the group. If the justice's claims are true, Mr. Amaechi and Mr. Umana could face seven-year prison sentences.
"In view of this, CSNAC is therefore by this petition calling on the Commission to commence an immediate thorough investigation into the allegations made by Justice Okoro and also ensure that prosecution and proper punishment is meted out in line with the established laws, rules, and regulations," CSNAC concluded.