Eleven officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission who supervised the 2015 general elections in Gombe State have admitted to receiving N120m out of the N23bn ($115m) allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The revelation comes about a month after the EFCC arrested a former Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Mrs. Gesila Khan, and other top INEC officials in the South-South for allegedly receiving N675.1m from Diezani.
Sources at the EFCC told our correspondent on Friday that the 11 officials had been interrogated and had made confessional statements.
A detective at the anti-graft agency told our correspondent that the electoral officers, who were in charge of the 11 local government areas of Gombe State, reported at the Gombe State zonal office of the commission on Thursday.
The detective said, “They have made useful statements and most of them have confessed to receiving millions of naira for their respective local government. They explained that two out of the 11 officials negotiated and collected the bribe on their behalf.
“The electoral officer for Akko Local Government Area, Ahmed Biu; and the one in charge of Gombe Local Government Area, Ahmed Ali Biu, and Mohammed Zannah, admitted to have collected the bribe from one Yunusa Biri, also a retired electoral officer who acted as Gombe State coordinator of bribes for electoral officers in the state.
“Biri was known and addressed as the coordinator of NGO, a code name used to cover the activities of the two parties.”
The detective told our correspondent that at the meeting where the money was disbursed, Biu and Zannah lodged at Corner Alheri Hotel, opposite NNPC mega station in Gombe, and the parties agreed to share the bribe per polling unit in each local government and part of the bribe should go to ad hoc employees deployed to each polling station across the state.
The source, however, said there were some issues with the investigation as some electoral officers claimed to have been cheated of their own share of the booty.
He said, “Investigations are ongoing but the challenge is that we will have to unravel the discrepancy in the amount collected and the actual money disbursed to the electoral officers.
“Some claimed that the coordinator (Biri) short-changed them because he gave only N8m to the eleven local governments in the state.”
The detective gave the names of some other detained officers as: Godwin Maiyaki, Gambo Balanga, Bukar Benisheik, Dukku, Jibril Muhammed, Billiri, Dunguma Dogona, Funakaye, Mohammed Wanka, Kaltungo, Ishaku Yusuf, Kwami, Suleiman Isawa, Babagana Malami, Shongom, and Nuhu Samuel.