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Contrary to claims from on known
quarters, that INEC had received police report that recovered huge sum from its
official in the last rivers rerun, the independent national electoral
commission has refuted it, saying the body has not been given any report as was
being speculated.

‘’We have not received such a
report either at the Legal Department or anywhere as being speculated but
instead,  waiting for the outcome of our internal panel of investigation’’,

“And in fact, there is no way a
police report will go to a department. It will come from the Inspector-General
of Police to the Chairman of the commission. I have cross-checked in all the
necessary places and they say it is not true.” Oyekanmi Stated. The Chief Press
Secretary to Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi did not mince word when he
stated that it was appropriate for the police team, which visited the
commission at the beginning of its work, to oblige the agency with its findings
to keep INEC abreast of further developments on the rerun probe.

He added that the affected
personnel released from police custody  were not Abuja-based and might have been released in Port Harcourt,
Rivers State.

However, a top official of the
commission, who confided in Urban Express News on Saturday, said the police did
not need the input of INEC to prosecute the personnel indicted by the panel.

Urban express news however learnt
that the police have released the indicted 23 electoral officials on
administrative bail to INEC for appropriate sanctions in line with the civil
service rules.

 Sources told urban express news that the
police expected INEC to mete out appropriate sanctions to the indicted
officials after which the officials would be arraigned in court.

A senior official, however, said
the arraignment of the EOs was not dependent on the electoral commission’s
action, noting that the prosecution of the officials would be determined by the
Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The source added, “After their
interrogation and the money was recovered from them, the EOs were released to
INEC to be dealt with in accordance with the civil service rules. Both the
givers and takers are culpable, but it is only the electoral officials that
would be prosecuted because the governor enjoys immunity from prosecution.

“INEC would be allowed to carry out
its internal disciplinary exercise against the errant officials, but this would
not stop or delay the arraignment of the suspects once the authorities have
drawn up the charges against them.”

He stated that the suspects were
not paraded before newsmen when the panel submitted its findings last week
because they had yet to face INEC internal disciplinary committee. The police
panel, which investigated the violence that characterized the December 10,
2016, legislative rerun polls in Rivers State, has intensified its efforts to
recover the balance of the N350m bribe, which the panel alleged was given to
officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The committee alleged that the cash
was given to about 23 officials of INEC by officials of the Rivers State
Government in order to ensure that the election was rigged.

But while the police have tendered
the N111.3m, reportedly recovered from some officials of the electoral umpire,
the panel has been unable to trace the balance of N238.7m

The panel, headed by Damian Okoro,
a Deputy Commissioner of Police, said in its report, “Out of N350m, N15m was
given to each of the electoral officers and N5m was added by the government of
Rivers to the EOs who were in charge.

“Consequently, the sum of N111.3m
was recovered by the panel from the 23 electoral officers.”

It was learnt that initial efforts
to recover the outstanding N238m had failed to yield the desired results as
some of the indicted officials had refused to cooperate with the police to
trace the alleged loot.

“The panel could not establish who
got the balance of N248.7m bribe as the EOs (Electoral Officers) admitted to
getting just N111.3m out of the N350m bribe,” a source told urban express news
on Saturday.

The source, however, refused to
outline the steps being taken by the panel to recover the balance, vowing that
the panel was sure of getting the money “soon” owing to the strategies to be
taken to recover the bribe. He stressed that such a report would not be sent to
a department in the commission but would emanate from the office of the
Inspector-General of Police to the office of the chairman of the commission.

“It is because of the need for INEC
to implement its internal mechanism on the officers that the electoral officers
were not paraded when the panel submitted its report last week, but their files
are being studied and would be submitted to the AGF as soon as possible,” the
source stated.

When asked the reasons for the
delay in the arraignment of the suspects, the Force Public Relations Officer,
Jimoh Moshood, said there was no delay, adding that the panel report would be
implemented.

“We are going to fully implement
the report; Like the IG has stated, the report will be forwarded to the AGF and
implemented. There is no delay, we are simply following the due process,” the
police spokesman stated on Saturday.

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