N185Million Bribery Scam: Court Admits Fresh Exhibits Against Former Rivers INEC

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has admitted in evidence footages of a Closed- Circuit Television (CCTV) Camera showing banking activities of a former Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, in Rivers State, Mrs Gesila Khan and one other official, Peter Popnen.

Khan and Popnen are facing trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for their alleged involvement in falsification of assets declaration, fraudulent transaction and bribery in the sum of N185, 842, 000 (One Hundred and Eighty Five Million, Eight Hundred and Forty Two Thousand Naira) only.

During examination in chief, an expert in CCTV camera installation and Prosecution Witness 3, PW3, Eghosa Usenbor, narrated his functions and CCTV cameras installed at the Fidelity Bank, Trans-Amadi branch, Port Harcourt Rivers State. He used a laptop, digital video disc, DVD and a projector screen to show the activities in the banking hall, bulk room, loading bay and entrance of the bank. The CCTV cameras recorded activities of the bank on 27 March, 2015 when an INEC vehicle was parked at the bank’s premises and how “Ghana Must Go” bags loaded with money were taken away.

Four DVDs of the footages were admitted as exhibits PW3A, PW3B PW3C and PW3D respectively. Usenbor stressed that when the bank placed a request that the footage be shown in court, he picked footages recorded by the cameras from 3pm to 8:30pm on 27 March, 2015. When asked how he confirmed the INEC vehicle showed on the screen, he said that the vehicle in question had an opening at the back.

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Another Prosecution witness, PW4, a forensic examiner and operative of the EFCC, Gideon Dashong told the court that he subjected the hand-writing specimen, disputed document and INEC Identity card of Gesila and Popnen, to forensic analysis and confirmed that the items belonged to the two INEC officials. According to him, he used visual analysis, stereo microscope and video spectral, VSE techniques to arrive at his conclusion.

In another dimension, Prosecution Witness 5, Aminu Ismaila, an EFCC Operative, also subjected the signature of Khan on the bank’s receipt and her signature on EFCC’s Statement sheet to forensic analysis and confirmed that she was owner of the two signatures.

Justice Bilikisu, after listening to the testimonies of the three witnesses, adjourned the trial to a later day. Counsels will be notified of the new adjourned date.

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