Two choice shopping malls allegedly acquired by a serving Resident Electoral Commissioner with her share of a bribe dished out by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of last year’s general elections, have been seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A sum of N49 million found in the bank account of the REC, Gesil Khan, has also been frozen by the EFCC.
A total of N23.29b was disbursed under the poll bribery scam allegedly facilitated by ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, of which N185, 842,000 went to Khan. The anti-graft agency applied to the Federal High Court, Yenagoa for Interim Forfeiture Order in line with sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act to take over the account and the buildings which are located in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital. The order was granted, The Nation gathered yesterday.
Other beneficiaries of the largesse in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and some PDP stalwarts are said to have refunded N503million to EFCC.
Of the N503 million thus refunded, N200million came from a former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga ( rtd).
A total of N450million was allegedly traced to him. The EFCC is yet to conclude its investigation of the INEC staff and PDP stalwarts who were implicated in the poll bribery scandal. Khan and other INEC officers are being probed for allegedly collecting N681million altogether.
The other INEC officers already grilled in connection with the matter are: Fidelia Omoile (Electoral Officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State)-N112,480,000 ; Uluochi Obi Brown (INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Delta State)-N111,500,000; a former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River State, Edem Okon Effanga-N241,127,000 and the Head of Voter Education in INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo-N214,127,000.
A source familiar with the case said: “We have been able to trace two choice shopping malls in Yenagoa to the affected REC Khan. Following the development, we applied to a Federal High Court for Interim Forfeiture Order in line with sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act.
“The court has granted our prayers to seize the two malls and appoint managers to take care of the properties in order to generate more revenue either for the government or the owner depending on how the trial ends.
“We do not want the assets to lie fallow hence we recruited managers to be in charge until investigation and trial are concluded.
“During investigation, we discovered N49million in the account of REC Khan. Since she could not fully account for the sources of the money, we have frozen the account in line with our mandate.
“We are treating the money as likely proceeds of bribery or money laundering. The account will remain frozen until a court of law decides otherwise based on facts we will present during her trial.”
source: The Nation