The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday arraigned two former senior staff of the Enugu State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Amadi Simon, a former deputy director and Nathan Owhor Oviri, an administrative secretary before Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Enugu on a 16-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.
The officials are alleged to have laundered One Hundred and Thirty One Million, Three Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira (N131, 380,000) contrary to Section 18 (a) and 1 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act,2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012.
Their arraignment was sequel to roles they allegedly played in the disbursements of 2015 presidential election campaign funds to some INEC Staff in Enugu State from the $115m provided by Diezani Alison-Madueke , former minister of petroleum resources, to influence the outcome of the election.
They were said to have made and accepted cash payments exceeding the authorized limit required by law without passing through a financial institution.
“Investigation by the Commission revealed that the sum of $27 Million USD was released which was converted to N131,380,000 in various Bureau de Change,” the spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES. “The sum formed part of N450 Million released to the Enugu state PDP Campaign team.
“The money was allegedly collected by Nathan Owhor from some party chieftains and taken to a hotel at New Haven, Enugu where it was disbursed to all supervising returning officers of INEC for onward disbursement to other staff in all the local government areas of the state.”
Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against them and were granted bail in the sum of Five Million Naira (N5, 000,000) each and one surety each who must not be below the rank of a director in either state or federal ministry. The sureties must also own landed properties within the court’s jurisdiction.
Justice Liman further ruled that the accused person should continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted by the EFCC until the conditions listed above are met within seven days.
Failure to meet the conditions, they would be re-arrested and remanded in prison custody, the judge said.
The matter was adjourned to October 10, 2018.