The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has hinted that former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke will face trial over the $115million (N23.29bn) bribe paid the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across the 36 states ahead of the 2015 general elections.
After investigation, EFCC operatives believe the $115m doled out by Diezani and her associates through Fidelity Bank came from proceeds of stolen crude oil.
The companies who fronted for Diezani by transferring money into Fidelity Bank account on her behalf are Northern Belt Gas Company Limited; Auctus Integrated; Midwestern Oil and Gas; and Lenoil, owned by Laitan Adesanya.
Out of the N23.29 billion distributed by Fidelity Bank, Gesila Khan, who was the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Rivers States at the time got N185.8million. She is now the REC of Cross River state.
Fidelia Omoile (Electoral Officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State) got N112.5 million; Uluochi Obi Brown INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Delta State got N111,500,000.
A former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River State, Edem Okon Effanga was paid N241,127,000 and the Head of Voter Education in INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo also got N214,127,000.
The EFCC is still compiling the list of INEC officials in all the 36 states, who were recipients of Diezani’s N23.29billion.
“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 told TheNation.
“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 official who does not want to be named revealed.
The EFCC noted that charges might 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.
On the owners of the oil firms allegedly involved in the scandal, a top EFCC source said: “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.”
On Sunday night, the EFCC was putting some finishing touches to plans on those to be arraigned for bribery.
The anti-graft agency pencilled the following for trial.
Diezani (in absentia), Okonkwo and Fidelity Bank’s Head of Operations, Martin Izuogbe.
INEC officials to be arraigned are Mrs Khan (for collecting N185, 842,000 out of a 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 these ill-gotten cash through court process.”