Two officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Nwosu Christian and Tijani Bashiru, were today picked up and whisked away by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), after court proceedings at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
The two INEC officials, were arrested barely after attending their trial over alleged N264 million received from former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, during 2015 General Election in 2015.
The dou barely stepped out of the court premises, when they were apprehended by the EFCC, and thrown into waiting bus of the EFCC.
Mr. Christian was arraigned alongside two of his colleagues on April 4,2017 for the offence.
The latest development came after the court proceeding today due to the new revelation on how the embattled former INEC officials diverted the sum of N450million to a company called Advaita Nigeria Limited through the cashier of the INEC where Bashir Tijani Nda the second defendant is a director.
According to a source in the commission, Nwosu is a signatory to the account where this funds was logged, while his wife benefited the sum of N11.8million from the sum.
Source in the anti -graft agency stated that the second defendant, who is the Head of Account Department benefited the sum of N25million through a company called Heiza Nigeria Limited own by the second defendant’s relation Saliu .
Meanwhile, on the trial of the two INEC officials over alleged the N264 million fraud, an EFCC Investigator, Mr. Usman Zakari, today told the court how the two accused received the sum through, Union Bank and Diamond Bank Plc.
Zakari, who was EFCC’s second witness in the matter, narrated how the total sum of N30 million was paid into Nwosu Christian’s account in Diamond and Union Banks, by one Abdul Ramon Adedeji.
Zakari said: on April 7 and 8, 2015, there was an inflow from the account of Abdul Ramon Adedeji to the account of Nwosu Christian, in the sum of N17 million, and N13 million.
“On April 7, 2015, there was also fund transfer of N69, 306, 920 million, from Kwara State INEC account into the account of Abdul Ramon Adebayo. Also, on the same day, there was two withdrawal of N13 million, into Union Bank’s account of Nwosu Christian. And that there was an inflows of N17 million, into his Diamond account bank”.
The investigator also told the court that the money was not part of the accused person’s emolument, and that after the election, the first accused, Nwosu, debited INEC account with the sum of N60 million.
Zakari also informed the court that the second defendant filled a form directing the cashier of First Bank Plc to transfer the sum of N30 million, which were paid on two installments of N13 million and N17 million respectively.
During cross-examination by the accused lawyers, Nelson Imoh and Opara O, the investigator said N13 million from First Bank Plc was paid into Union Bank account of Nwosu Christian.
He also told the court that one Timothy Olagbaju and Martins Izogbe did not write any statement with his agency as regards the charge.
He also told the court that the N4 million received from the first accused was raised through a draft.
Upon the closing of the prosecution’s case, the defendants’ lawyers, told the court that the defence will be filing a no -case submission on behalf of their clients.
Consequently, the Presiding Judge, Justice Idris adjourned the matter till April 7, for adoption of no-case-submission of the accused persons and the EFCC response to the application.
In the charge, the prosecution alleged that the duo, on March 27, 2015, accepted gratification to the tune of N264 million from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke.
They were also alleged to have conspired to take possession of the money which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of gratification.
They were also accused of making cash payments to the tune of about N235 million, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law without going through a financial Institution.
In count seven, Nwosu was alleged to have directly used the sum of N30 million which he ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.
The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 15 (3), 16 (2) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act, 2015.