Three senior staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly collecting the sum of $250, 000 each, to manipulate the Akwa Ibom guber election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC’S) candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere.
The staff, Moses Naiya, Deputy Director, Web; Pascal Ukaenwe, Deputy Director, Communications; and Embby O. Mba, Deputy Director, internet; are said to have reported at the state commission a day to the election, alleging to have been sent from the national commission.
Their activities were brought to limelight when a certain Conscience Advocacy Group, petitioned them to the EFCC through its secretary, Barr. Donatus Ekpo on February 13, 2019, in Abuja.
The EFCC, acting on the information, launched an investigation into the petition and arrested the accused.
Confirming the development, a staff of the EFCC, who spoke in confidence with our reporter, said that the accused were in EFCC detention, adding that investigations on the issue are ongoing and that “they are likely to be prosecuted soon”.
“They came into the state with card readers which have been recovered….., large amounts of money was discovered in their account which points at the allegation against them”, he said.
Meanwhile, the INEC is yet to give an official statement on the incident. When contacted, one of the staffs who pleaded anonymity noted that the commission was perhaps, quiet because they knew nothing about the movement from the national to the state, where the trio claimed to have come from.
“the national commission has denied sending them to Akwa Ibom. It therefore is allowing the EFCC enough room to interrogate them.
There are indications that they would be relieved of their duties after the investigations”, our source said.
It would be recalled that the move was one of the APC’s desperate moves to win the just-concluded governorship election, after failing to win the patronage of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC).
“After realizing that the State REC would not compromise his stance by refusing to meet with them abroad, give them result sheets to write results, and allow them choose their ad-hoc staff – they protested locally and nationally, and called for his removal as the state REC. Having failed in all of these, they went ahead to contact the trio of Naiya, Ukaenwe and Mba, to help them secure result sheets, repackage and manipulate anything that would bring them victory”, our source said.