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Alleged N163.9m bribe: EFCC rearraigns ex-Plateau REC, 1 other

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday,  re- arraigned two former INEC officials on amended N163.9 million charge bordering on conspiracy and bribery.

NAN reports that the EFCC on March, 8, 2018, arraigned Dr. Godwin Kwanga, former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Plateau, and Jonathan Azi-Nyako, a retired INEC staff.

The two were charged alongside late Usman Baba-Bukar, former INEC Administrative Secretary in Plateau before a High Court in the state over bribery of INEC staff.

The anti-graft alleged that they bribed the electoral body staff in the 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state during the 2015 general elections.

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They were alleged to have used their positions and conspired among themselves to bribe INEC Staff to influence the outcome of the elections in favour of one of the political parties.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the death of Baba-Bukar forced the anti-graft agency to amend the charges against the duo.

They pleaded not guilty to the new charge.

Earlier, EFCC Counsel, A.M. Ocholi, said, “since the accused persons have entered their pleas of not guilty, l wish to proceed to call a witness, who is in court to testify.

“We are ready to continue with the matter today.’’

However, Mr. Innocent Daa’gba, counsel to the former REC, told the court that he was not ready on the ground that he was only served with the amended charges in court.

“My Lord, I am afraid we are not ready.

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“We are only served with the amended charges this (Thursday) morning around 9.30 a.m. by the prosecution and will need time to study them to enable us prepare questions for the witnesses of the prosecution.

“We are also constraint as the prosecution has not told us how many witnesses they have or are bringing so that we can also prepare ours.

“We wish to apply for a short adjournment to enable us study the amended charges and equally do the needful for us to come properly for the hearing of the case,’’ Daa’gba pleaded.

Mr. A. G. Yirvoms, Counsel to Azi-Nyako, did not object to the application.

Justice Christy Dabup adjourned the case untill May 13 and May 14 for continuation of hearing.

Nevertheless Kwanga and Azi-Nyako were allowed to continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted them by the court. ((NAN)

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