Nigeria’s anti graft agency, the Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Sokoto zonal office has recovered money to the tune of N65,548,000 (Sixty-five Million, Five Hundred and Forty-eight Thousand Naira) from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Zamfara State.
The monies which comprise of 81 bundles of N1000 notes, 97 bundle of N500 notes and 96 pieces of N500 notes were stacked in two fireproof safes during a search conducted in offices of the HOD Accounts and Cashier of the INEC, the EFCC on Wednesday revealed.
The money is suspected to be 40% illegally deducted on funds released to the INEC Zamfara office to cater for the rent of Canopies, Tables, and Chairs and also funds for RAC (Registration Area Center) and movement of men and materials to Polling Units, by the HOD Accounts & Cashier.
The raid, as gathered followed a petition by one of the INEC ad-hoc staff during the 2019 presidential and gubernatorial elections in Zamfara State. The staff alleged that the Adhoc INEC officials were denied payment of their N6,000 movement allowances each for the two elections.
According to the complainant, while INEC in Zamfara allegedly paid its ad hoc staff the sum of N9,000, others in states like Sokoto were paid N12,000.
Also, the recovered fund is suspected to be part of the funds illegally deducted from releases meant to cater for the movement of materials and electoral officials as well as the provision of chairs, tables and canopies for the 2019 governorship and presidential elections in the state
Before now, the Commission had arrested four officials of INEC in the state. The officials, which included Hassan Sidi Aliyu, Administrative Secretary, Hussain Jafar, Head of Operations, Abdullahi Yusuf Abubakar, State Accountant and the Cashier Labaran Ishaka, were picked for alleged conspiracy, breach of trust and criminal diversion of Ad hoc staff allowance to the tune of N84, 696,000 (Eighty Four Million, Six Hundred and Ninety Six Thousand Naira).
The investigation by the EFCC unearthed that none of the 10,500 presiding officers who participated in the elections were paid their entitlements commutatively put at N84, 696,000 (Eighty-Four Million, Six Hundred and Ninety-Six Thousand Naira).
The 14 Electoral Officers of the state were also arrested and they are: Abdullahi Sumbawa, Zurmi LGA; Aliyu Jafaru Goronyo, Maradun LGA; Balarabe Ahmed S Gobir, Gummi LGA; Amadu Ibrahim, Gusau LGA; Mohammed Bashir Musa, Kaura Namoda LGA; Dalhatu Usman Musa,Birnin Magaji LGA; Abdulmumin Usman, Maru LGA; Muhammad Nasir Saidu, Talatu Mafara LGA; Abdullahi A. Ukashatu, Tsafe LGA; Tukur Garba Kaita, Bungudu LGA; Salihu Musa Abdullahi, Bukuyun LGA; Sadiq Abdullahi, Fari Anka LGA; Lawali Muhammed, Argungu Bakura LGA; Jafaru Gide, Shinkafi LGA; Tanimu Muhammad, Shinkafi LGA; and Hassan Abdullahi,Shinkafi LGA.
The investigation, according to the EFCC is still ongoing while efforts are being made to recover all the illegal deductions.