A twist emerged today in the trial of three Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), officials currently facing trial for allegedly collecting bribe to pervert the results of the 2015 general election.
This is as one of the INEC officials, Mr Yisa Olanrewaju Adedoyin who admitted collecting N70 million from the $155 million dollars allegedly set aside by the former Minister of Petroleum Deziani Allison Madueke to bribe INEC official, pleaded guilty to the charge and was subsequently convicted, while one of the commission’s staff Mr Chris Nwosu who had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge, change his guilty plea to not guilty.
EFCC had earlier charged three officials of the commission, Chris Nwosu, Yisa Olanrewaju Adedoyin and Tijani Inda Bashir before the Federal High Court , Lagos for collecting the sum of N 262,880million to pervert the result of the 2015 general election.
However, at the resumed trial today one of the three INEC officials, Yisa Olanrewaju Adedoyin, charged before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for allegedly receiving bribe to manipulate 2015 General Election, was convicted and Jailed by the court.
Adedoyin was Jailed by Justice Muhammad Idris on a plea bargain agreement he reached with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Idris Jailed Adedoyin, after he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty.
The convict had earlier pleaded not guilty when he was earlier arraigned alongside two others Christian Nwosu, and Tijani Bashir.
In sentencing Adedoyin based on his plea bargain agreement dated May 2, 2017 with EFCC ,Justice Idris held that:
“there is no doubt that the second defendant is an elderly man. It is also not in contention that the second defendant is a first time offender.
“This court will tamper Justice with mercy. The court hereby adopts the plea bargain agreement as the judgment of the court.”
In the plea bargain agreement, it was agreed that,” Upon the conviction of the second defendant, he would forfeit to the Federal Government of Nigeria a parcel of land and its appurtenances measuring 100ft by 100, lying, being and situate at Taoheed Road, Bufo-Osho Village, Ilorin-South Local Government Area, Ilorin, Kwara state which property was acquired and developed with the sum of N23 million, from the proceed of the second defendant’s unlawful acts.
“That a fine N10 million is proposed to this honourable court to be imposed on the second defendant, Yisa Olanrewaju Adedoyin upon his conviction. That in paying the fine of the sum of N10 million, Adedoyin shall raise a draft of the sum of N5 million in addition to the sum of N5, million already recovered from him vide the attached draft.
“That the court shall direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in whose name the draft of N5 million was raised by the second defendant to transfer the value of the said draft to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account of the Federation.
“The second defendant shall within 7 days after the payment of the fine imposed by this Court enter into a bond with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission never to be involved in economic and financial crimes within and outside the shores of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The EFCC had re-arraigned the defendants over their alleged involvement in money laundering.
But they all pleaded not guilty to the six count amended charge against them by the anti-graft agency.
Prior to the re-arraignment of the defendants, EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo had informed Justice Idris that the second defendant, Olarenwaju had indicated his intention to change his plea from not guilty to guilty plea and also reached a plea bargain arrangement with the commission.
Oyedepo further informed the judge that the anti-graft agency had filed the second amended charge, with a prayer that same should be accepted and read to the defendants for them to take their pleas.
It would be recalled that at the last hearing on the matter, Justice Idris had thrown out an earlier plea bargain arrangement reached between one of the defendants, Christian Nwosu over allegation of money laundering with the anti-graft agency which he had earlier pleaded guilty to.
The judge held that the plea bargain arrangement fell short of the provisions of the law which stipulates a fine of N10milion or conviction of two years jail term.
Justice Idris declare that the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) stipulates that such a convict deserves a sentence that is more stringent.