About N114m out of N360m that was offered as bribe by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike to 23 staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), has just been recovered.
This was confirmed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police,(DIG), Joseph Egbonike, Tuesday June 15, when he appeared before the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Assessment and Status of all recovered loots, movable and immovable assets from 2002 to 2020.
He went on to explain that the actual amount that was offered was N360m which they were to find out that officers of the electoral umpire were expressly involved, but couldn’t recover the entire money because of the time lapse from 2016 when it happened till now.
Speaking to the house concerning the money, Agbodike, who was present in the sitting, strictly on the invitation of the panel was asked by the chairman to throw light on what exactly the money was meant for. His response: ‘there was a governorship re-run in 2016 between Governor Nyesom Wike of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) and the main opposition at that time which was the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the sum of N360m was offered as bribe to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials during the 2016 re-run governorship election in Rivers State.
He went on to say that the INEC officials totalled 23 in number, but only N114,509m could be recovered since then.
In response to numerous questions by the panelists in the cross-examination from documents and exhibits previously submitted to the committee, the AIG assured that the matter had been taken to court after they concluded their investigation.
According to him, every accused person had been prosecuted at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, but the judgement which was delivered in favour of the Federal Government was appealed against, which is why it is still pending.
‘The said matter is still in court and I wouldn’t want to speak much on it, but the said amount you are referring to was recovered from 23 officials of INEC during the 2016 rerun elections of the National and State Assembly which was rigged in favour of PDP. Although, the persons involved have been prosecuted and convicted, the matter has been appealed and not dispensed.’
The police report and other related documents showed a recovery of the total sum of N114,290,000 by the Rivers State Command of the Nigerian Police Force out of N360 million the from the INEC staff members.
A part of the police reports read: On 10th December 2016, during the National and State Assembly re-run elections in Rivers State, efforts were put to rig the said election through inducement, bribery and intimidation of electoral officials, as the sum of three hundred and sixty million naira (N360, 000,000.00) was given by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, to twenty three (23) electoral officials, deployed to Rivers State from Anambra, Oyo and Plateau States, to compromise and influence the outcome of the election. Consequently, on receipt of the intelligence, our investigation panel under the IGP Monitoring unit was set up, following which the sum of one hundred and fourteen million, two hundred and ninety thousand (114, 290, 000.00) only, was recovered from 23 INEC officials and deposited into the Central Bank of Nigeria.
‘All suspects are being prosecuted before the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, River State by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation’, he concluded.