The Nigeria Police Force has said that about 114,290,000 naira out of 360 million allegedly paid by Governor Nyesom Wike as bribe to 23 staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the 2016 National and State House of Assembly bye-election has been recovered.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Joseph Egbonike, made the disclosure on Tuesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the assessment and status of all recovered loot, movable and immovable assets from 2002 to 2020.
The officer who confirmed the development to the panel, explained that the actual money offered was 360 million naira which they discovered in the course of their investigation.
The DIG expressed regret that the police could not recover the entire funds since 2016.
The officer who appeared on the invitation of the panel, when asked by the chairman to explain exactly what the money was meant for, said: “There was a governorship rerun in 2016 between Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition at that time, which was the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the sum of 360 million naira was offered as bribe to officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the rerun in 2016.
The DIG said those who benefitted from the money were 23 in number, out of which only 114,290,000 million naira was recovered.
Responding to questions from panel members based on the documents and exhibits previously submitted to the committee, the DIG further explained that the matter has been taken to court after the conclusion of police investigation.
According to him, all the accused have been prosecuted at the Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt, but the judgment which was delivered in favour of the Federal Government was appealed against; hence, it was 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.
“Meanwhile, the police report and other related documents which were obtained by Daily Post on Tuesday after the committee sitting, showed a recovery of the sum of N114 290,000 by the Rivers Command of the Nigeria Police, out of 136 million from INEC staff.”
PART OF THE POLICE REPORT READ:
“On 10th December 2016, during the National and State Assembly rerun elections in Rivers State, effort was put to rig the said election through inducement, bribery and intimidation of electoral officials, as the sum of 360 million naira 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 114 million, two hundred and and ninety thousand was recovered from the 23 INEC officials and deposited into the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Account Name: IGP Special Joint Investigation Panel on Rivers Re-run Election of 10/12/2016 with Remita Retrieval Reference number 3401-58076328.
Details of payment and breakdown of the recovery are attached here.
Appendix ‘C&C1 – Summary of Recovery from 23 INEC Officials
C2 – Payment slips into CBN account Zenith Bank with Remita Retrieve reference number 3401-5807-6328.
“All suspects are being prosecuted before the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation”.
Meanwhile, a text message sent as well as calls made to the Special Adviser on Media to Rivers State Governor, Mr Kelvin Ebiri, were not returned as at the time of filing this report.