The Independent National Electoral Commission has said none of its officials, who are undergoing investigations for alleged bribery, will be assigned any electoral duty.
It said the officials, whose names were on the list sent to it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, would be barred from electoral duty until they cleared themselves of the bribery allegations against them.
Though none of those under investigation had been suspended by INEC or indicted by the EFCC, the electoral umpire stated on Monday that it would be morally wrong to continue to assign electoral duties to the suspects.
It was gathered that the EFCC sent a letter to INEC and demanded the release of over 100 officers for interrogation for alleged bribery during the 2015 general elections.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had earlier confirmed the number of the suspects, saying at the end of the investigations, those found guilty would be fired by the commission.
Some states’ Resident Electoral Commissioners were allegedly bribed before, during and after the 2015 polls.
Many electoral officers and others were also said to have been involved in the alleged bribery scandal.
The bribe cash was said to have been disbursed by a bank from the N23bn deposited in the bank by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, who spoke with our correspondent in Abuja on Monday, said none of those under investigation would be used in the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
He added that until the concerned officers were cleared by the EFCC, they would not be used for any electoral duty.
Oyekanmi stated, “We have made it clear to them that none of those whose names appeared on the list sent by the EFCC would be involved in any electoral duty.
“Using them will send a wrong signal to the people about our integrity and all that.
“Though these people have yet to be indicted and they remain innocent until proved guilty, we have to safeguard the integrity of the commission as well.
“That is why we have placed embargo on them concerning electoral duties. There are other jobs they could do at the commission, but not electoral duty.”
He said the commission was poised to conduct a free, fair and credible election in Ondo State.
A former REC in Rivers State, Mrs. Gesila Khan, and other top INEC officials in the South-South geopolitical zone were alleged to have received N675.1m from the poll bribe cash.
Reliable sources at the EFCC had alleged that Khan, who was later redeployed as the REC in Cross River State, allegedly received N185.8m ahead of the March 28 and April 11, 2015 elections.
The commission also arrested one Oluchi Obi Brown, who, as the INEC administrative secretary in Delta State, allegedly received over N111m.
Further investigations by detectives revealed that Brown had about $75,000 in an account in the United States.
The anti-graft agency also arrested one Edem Effanga, who is a retired INEC official. Effanga was arrested alongside his alleged accomplice, Immaculata Asuquo, who was the Head, Voter Education of INEC in Akwa Ibom State.
Effanga was alleged to have received over N240m, which he shared among INEC ad hoc workers during the elections.
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