The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has admitted some of its staff got over N3 billion in bribes during the 2015 general elections.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC had in a report detailed how about N23 billion was deployed to influence the elections.
But INEC said its figure was arrived at after an in-house investigation of 282 of its serving and retired staff, including a former national commissioner and several Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs)
The funds were allegedly recovered from some of the electoral officers by the committee set up by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, were displayed in Abuja on Tuesday.
The IGP had set up the committee to investigate electoral offenses and other violent acts during the re-run Rivers State parliamentary election held December 10, 2016.
“Out of over 23 billion naira, which the EFCC report said was used to influence the elections, the committee established that 3,046,829,000 naira was received by INEC staff in 16 States”, said INEC in a statement signed by one of its National Commissioners, Mohammed Haruna.
Part of the statement reads: “The commission met today to consider the report of its expanded Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee on the EFCC interim report on bribery/corruption and money laundering charges during the 2015 general elections.
“You may recall that late last year, the commission received an interim report from the EFCC detailing allegations against 202 serving and retired INEC officials and staff in 16 states of the Federation.
“In furtherance of its zero tolerance for corruption in the electoral process, the commission ordered a thorough investigation into the allegations to establish the culpability or otherwise of those named in the EFCC report.
“The Committee’s work was thorough and painstaking, involving the issuance of queries to the 202-staff mentioned in the report and interviewing them individually in accordance with the principle of fair hearing and in consonance with INEC Staff Conditions of Service.
“As a result of initial findings of the committee, an additional 80 serving officials of the commission, who were not named in the EFCC report but whose names came up in the course of the investigation, were also queried and interviewed.
“Among other things the committee found that there was a clear attempt to bribe INEC staff to influence the outcome of the 2015 general elections using an NGO, the West African Network of Election Observers (WANEO), made up mainly of retired senior INEC officials.
“In reaching its decision on the findings of the committee, the commission adhered strictly to the INEC Staff Conditions of Service. The commission therefore decided as follows. The cases of one former national commissioner, five former resident electoral commissioners (one of them deceased) have been referred to the Presidency and EFCC for further necessary action.
“Based on their level of involvement, two hundred and five (205) serving INEC staff will be immediately placed on interdiction, which entails suspension from duties and being placed on half salary, pending the final determination of the cases they have with the EFCC.
“Seventy staff (70) about whom there was insufficient information regarding their involvement will be referred back to EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution.
“The Commission hereby reiterates its commitment to defending the integrity of the electoral process. Therefore, it will continue to take stern action against its officials who compromise its core values of integrity, transparency and impartiality in the conduct of elections”.