IGP panel framing up stories to intimidate gov –PDP
From Tony John, Port Harcourt
AMID bribery allegations levelled against its officials, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, said it was yet to receive the report of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Investigative Panel on the December 10, 2016 re-run polls in Rivers State.
The panel, which was constituted by the police high command, submitted its report to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris on Tuesday, in Abuja.
The report said N111 million ‘bribe money’ was recovered from 23 INEC officials who participated in the elections.
The recovered cash was displayed during the presentation of the report at police headquarters.
INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, that the Commission had not been briefed on the report.
He said if availed of the report, INEC would support processes to prosecute officials who were bribed.
Chairman of the panel, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Damian Okoro, made the allegation when he presented the team’s report to the IGP.
He alleged that three senior INEC officials collected N20 million each out of the N360 million allegedly given to key officials by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, while other officials received N15 million each.
Osaze-Uzzi said: “We await the police report; just like everybody saw it in the media, that was how we also saw it. As at today, they have not communicated to say this is the report.
“We know the panel has submitted report to the IGP, maybe, he will study it and avail us with the report if need be.”
The director said the Commission would allow the law to take its course on any of INEC staff indicted in the alleged bribe.
“If any of our staff has been found culpable, we will deal with him appropriately and then allow the law to take its course.
“If they are charged to court, then normal administrative process will follow.
“If they are convicted, necessary action will be taken. If they are not convicted, we will examine if they have committed any administrative breach.
“If they have committed any administrative breach, we will deal with that administratively, while the police will deal with the criminal aspect of it.”
He said the commission had been cooperating with the special investigative panel and the police on the matter.
“We are determined to weed out any bad egg from the system,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rivers chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the IGP panel to produce a video clip of the giver and receivers of the alleged N111 million cash recovered from officials of INEC as bribe.
Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, who briefed journalists, yesterday, on the allegations, described the money evidence as ‘primary school drama.’
Nwanosike said the money was not enough evidence to be presented to the world in such a high magnitude case, saying the panel should come up with pictures of where and when the money was given to the INEC officials.
He stated that Nigerians could not be deceived by the desperation of security agencies to cover up their roles before, during and after the rerun polls.
The party’s spokesman said the evidence was calculated to be used against the PDP at the electoral tribunal sitting in Abuja.
“We want to know the individual in the Rivers State Government who gave the bribe to the electoral officers. We want the evidence of where the money was given. We also need pictures of who are involved as proof and the bank where the money was paid.
“Okoro should tell Nigerians categorically how much he recovered from each of the persons involved. If actually he recovered anything, the money must be marked. That report should never be regarded as existing.
“The report (on Tuesday), means nothing before the eyes of the Nigerian people. It can never be considered in any sector of Nigeria. How would they say they recovered money from electoral officers and you finger the PDP on it? How can you bribe a man you don’t know?
‘‘Governor Nyesom Wike is not under pressure because of the allegation. Nobody can distract the governor from fulfilling his campaign promises to the people of the state. PDP has no hand in the said bribe’’, he reiterated.
We do not have anything to do with the panel under Okoro. Their report will not be binding on us. We are not interested in their panel. The panel is only cooking up stories to intimidate the Rivers peoples. The PDP has no reason to bribe any person. We don’t know them,” the party spokesman said.