Two Ex-INEC Officials Jailed 64 Years For Accepting N264.8M Bribe

* Logo source: Politics Nigeria



Two former staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Christian Nwosu and Tijani Bashir, were today sentenced to a total of 64 years imprisonments, by a Federal High Court, Lagos for receiving the sum of N264.8 million gratification from the former Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, for the purpose of perverting the 2015 general election.

The court presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, had yesterday, convicted the two former INEC official of nine counts charge leveled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The convicts were first arraigned before the court on May 5, 2017, on charges bordering on conspiracy, money laundering and obtaining huge amount of money without going through financial institutions.

Justice Idris, however, reserved sentencing the convicts till today, due to the absence of the first convict, Nwosu, who was said to be on admission in a hospital.

At the resumed hearing of the matter today, the convicts’ lawyer led by Victor Opara, in his alocutors pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy as their clients are first time offenders. He also urged the court to consider reformatory sentence instead of custodian sentence to their clients.

Opara further urged the court to considered the 35 years which the convict had served the country as a civil servants.

Opara urged the court to consider Sections 305(1)  paragraph 6 of ACJA, which prescribed that the court should pass its sentence on the convict, but that such sentence should be suspended pending the outcome of an appeal filed against the charges.

In response, EFCC lawyer, Mohammed. Idris, while informing the court that though, the convicts are first time offenders, but however, urged the court to pronounced the sentence as prescribed by the law.

Idris, also pleaded with the court to order the forfeiture of the money and properties recovered from the convicts to the Federal government of Nigeria.

After listened to both parties, Justice Idris, sentenced the convicts to a total of 64 years imprisonment without option of fine.

The judge also ordered that all the landed properties recovered from the convicts be forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria.

In sentencing the convicts, Justice Idris said: “I have listened to the plea of allocutors made. The convicts are officials of independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and expected to conduct themselves as impartial umpires in carrying out of their activities.

“I understand the mission of INEC is to serve as an independent and effective election management body, that is committed to the conduct of free, fair and credible election for the sustainability of our democracy in Nigeria. Its vision is to be one of the best election management body in the world that meets the aspirations of the Nigeria people in particular. These convicts by their conduct acted in breach of the said objectives and vision of INEC.

“Their actions were disgrace to the institution and a threat to democracy. INEC officials must be made to understand that their conducts must be conducted within the armpit of the law and that anyone who breaches the law will be dealt with. through the prescription of the law.

It must be understood that leadership and governance are serious matters that should be handed over to the most patriotic person, best informed mind and the most brightest brain who sees accountability, responsibility.

“This country must not be allowed to descend into anarchy, despondency, financial, political or immorality by the conduct of the officials of the institutions of government.

“This country cannot afford an unhealthy electoral body, as we go into the forthcoming election, INEC must note that this country deserves a credible election, anyone that acts contrary to the law shall be dealt with decisively.

“In this regards, the country only need those with indomitable courage and impeccable political will to perform this duty, those who play ignoble roles must be identified and be removed now. Evil communication they say, corrupt the mind.

“The penalty prescribed under Section 15 (2) and 16 (2)(b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, under which the convicts were found liable, provides for the terms of imprisonment and in some instances option of fine or both.

“In the lights of the allocutus, the court will tamper justice with mercy to the extent only permitted by the law itself.

“Again, a strong message must be sent to INEC, that the eyes of the world is on them, the entire nation is watching and those who decided to act contrarily to the call of office be identified and when they are identified they will be prosecuted and if found guilty, they shall be punished severely.

“Its in this circumstances and in the lights of all that have been said in the allocutor that the court is hereby sentence the convict.

“Each of the convicts is hereby sentence to seven years on count one, seven years on count two, five year on count three, five years on count four.

“The second convict, Tijani Ndah Bashir, is hereby sentence to seven years on count five, seven years on count six, seven years on count seven, seven years on count eight.

“Both convicts are also sentence to seven years on count nine. The jail terms shall run concurrently.

“Also, the first convict, Christian Nwosu, shall forfeit to the Federal government of Nigeria a landed property at Okpanaman in Delta State valued N5 million, another landed property at Okpanaman Delta State valued N20 million, and the sum of N5 million raised in favour of the EFCC. And the second convict, Tijani Ndah Bashir shall also forfeit to the Federal government of Nigeria a four bedroom flat located at 6, Umeh Street, Wise 2, Abuja”.

The EFCC had preferred a criminal charge against the convicts and one Yisa Adedoyin, who had already been convicted by the court after he pleaded guilty to the charges.

The convict were said to have accepted cash gratification from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison-Madueke, in the build up to the 2015 general elections.

They were accused of accepting the said gratification, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

The convicts were re-arraigned after their co-accused (Adedoyin) had opted to change his plea by admitting to being complicit in the offences charged.

Conversely, Nwosu and Bashir maintained their respective pleas of not guilty, while they opened their defences on September 19 and 21, 2018 respectively.

After conclusion of trial, parties adopted their final addresses on November 8, 2018 and the court had adjourned until Jan. 23 for judgment.

On January 23 (yesterday), the court was ready to read its judgment, but counsel to the first convict, Mr Opara, informed the court of a sick leave certificate for Nwosu, from a hospital in Enugu, in which he was placed on bed rest.


Be the first to comment on "Two Ex-INEC Officials Jailed 64 Years For Accepting N264.8M Bribe"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.