The Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abia State, Sylvester Ezeani, has refunded N20million to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr. Ezeani received the money while serving as the REC for Cross River State during the March 28, 2015 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
The fund was part of the N241million released to Cross River State from the illicit $115million (N23.29billion) by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to bribe electoral officials and politicians towards obtaining a favourable result for her party – Peoples Democratic Party – and its presidential candidate, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Three RECs have been named in the scandal. One of them is deceased.
The EFCC has seized two choice shopping malls from a former REC in Rivers State, Mrs. Gesil Khan.
Besides, Mrs. Khan’s account with about N59million, has been frozen by the anti-graft agency.
A retired INEC official, Sani Isa, was also grilled for N406,206,000 bribe allegedly collected on behalf of the deceased REC in Kano State, Alhaji Mukaila Abdullahi.
An EFCC source familiar with investigations into the bribe-for-election-results scandal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “Faced by overwhelming evidence from our team, Ezeani has refunded to the commission N20million, which was traced to him”.
He added that “About N241million was allocated to INEC when Ezeani was the REC in Cross River State during the 2015 poll.
“We are working on other INEC staff to refund the cash credited to them from the slush funds. So far, about N503million has been recovered from INEC staff and politicians involved in the poll bribery scandal in Port Harcourt Zone alone.
“We are determined to retrieve a huge chunk of the N23.29billion bribe”.