Abuja (Sundiata Post) – DETECTIVES are probing how a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu, got the N1.230 billion he allegedly disbursed to influence the 2015 general election.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigators have discovered that the cash was paid through an aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, and an oil magnate, into an account traced to Iwu’s firm.
One of them gave N758 million while the other paid N445 million into the firm’s account whose only signatory is the former INEC chief.
Six other suspects are under EFCC probe in connection with the poll bribery cash.
A former senator from the Southwest, who played a role in the constitutional conference organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan, received about N170 million but denied that it was a bribe. He told investigators that he executed a job for Iwu who paid him for his services.
The EFCC has launched a probe into the deal between them.
It was learnt that Iwu allegedly created a group in 2014 made up of past directors of INEC who served in the Southwest.
The co-opted directors served in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Lagos states with the mandate to monitor the 2015 elections.
Members of the group were found to have benefited from the N1.230 billion largesse which was allegedly shared by the former INEC chair.
A brief on the plot by Iwu and others reads in part: “Iwu transferred funds to the retired INEC directors as well as others who were involved in the election from his account to which he is the sole signatory.
“Analysis of the account showed that several suspicious deposits were made by Buraeu De Change firms into the account.
“The total sum of N1, 230,000,000 was deposited into the account by BDC operators between between 29/10/2014 and 31/3/ 2015.”
A highly-placed source said: “To cover up their tracks, $5 million cash was made available for Iwu’s project but routed through Bureau De Change operators.
The source added: “Iwu has denied having any knowledge of the naira equivalent of the $5 million deposited into his firm’s Account by the BDC operators.
“He said he cannot recall the source of the N1.230 billion deposited into his account.”
Besides EFCC’s investigation, an INEC in-house committee, headed by a National Commissioner, Baba Arfo Shettima, came up with the following findings:
- an NGO, West African Network of Electoral Observers, was used to share the bribe to INEC;
- a former chairman of INEC (names withheld) coordinated the large-scale bribery scandal;
- many former Resident Electoral Commissioners(RECs) and retired administrative secretaries were used to penetrate INEC in all the 36 states for the bribery to alter poll results;
- some serving RECs and directors benefited from the bribery scandal as confirmed by EFCC’s investigations
- a REC collected between N107 million and N140 million bribe;
- while some RECs and INEC officials collected as much as over N100m, others were given as low as N150,000 to compromise the electoral system;
About 205 INEC officials were implicated in the 2015 poll bribery scandal to the tune of N23.9 billion.
More than N3.4 billion cash has been recovered from INEC officials by the EFCC.
The former INEC boss was arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on August 8 for allegedly laundering N1.2 billion. He pleaded not guilty to a four count-charge. He was admitted to bail in the sum of N1 billion with two sureties in like sum after his bail application was heard on August 10.