- Category: Society
- Published on Monday, 03 May 2010 22:24
- Written by Punch
- Hits: 901
A withdrawal of N2.8bn from the accounts of the Independent National Electoral Commission took place between Thursday and Friday, sources in INEC have claimed.
The sources, who are privy to happenings in the accounts department of the commission, told our correspondent in
It was learnt that cheques for the sum were backdated to cover payments for contracts and other projects by the commission.
Our sources, however, did not say who gave the directive for the issuance of the cheques and who signed them.
The former Chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu, who was directed to proceed on pre-disengagement leave by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, is yet to hand over to Umeadi.
One of the sources said, “The amount of money withdrawn from the commission’s account in the last few days is unprecedented in the history of the commission.
“This is so because this is not an election year and we are not involved in any major contract. But now, we are almost broke due to the massive withdrawal of money.”
THE PUNCH gathered that Iwu, due to complete his tenure in June, lobbied to be retained for a second tenure of five years.
The professor of Pharmacology was said to have told his close friends in the commission that since he was just going on terminal leave, he would still be accessible till June 13.
However, our correspondent gathered that there were moves by Iwu to lobby some Peoples Democratic Party governors to convince Jonathan to allow him hand over to Prince Adedeji Soyebi, a national commissioner in charge of Logistics.
Investigations on Sunday showed that while Umeadi became a national commissioner in August 2006 and is due to complete his first tenure in August 2011, Soyebi on the other hand was appointed a national commissioner in September 2007.
Before then, Soyebi was a resident commissioner in the commission and was elevated to the position of national commissioner when Mrs. Kemi Odebiyi died.
When contacted on Sunday on the alleged withdrawal of N2.8bn from INEC’s account, the Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Umenger, politely declined comments.
Umenger had in a statement on Friday said that with Umeadi’s assumption of office, the alleged vacuum in INEC’s leadership had become a non-issue.
“This development should naturally put an end to insinuations from some segment of the media that there is a vacuum in the leadership of INEC at the moment,” Umenger said in statement.
Cases of financial abuses involving INEC staff are pending in court, including a corruption charge against Iwu’s Chief Press Secretary , Mr. Andy Ezeani.
Ezeani is facing a two-count charge of corruption at an FCT High Court,
In the suit filed on behalf of the Federal Government by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ezeani, a deputy director with the commission, was accused of criminal misappropriation and dishonesty.
He was alleged to have fraudulently deducted N5. 9m from the N7.7m donated to the
Besides, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties had last year petitioned the EFCC over an alleged N28.8bn fraud in INEC.
The coalition, in the petition, said the fraud was committed in transactions relating to the printing of ballot papers, buying of communicating gadgets, among others.
A former governor of
Others signatories were Chief A. Nwodo of Progressive Action Congress; Mr. Mani Ibrahim of African Democratic Congress; Mallam Yunusa Tako of National Conscience Party; Mr. Milson Ezegwu; and Mr. Osita Okechukwu.
Detailing the allegations, the CNPP said that the commission on January 4, 2007 awarded a contract for the printing of ballot papers for the last presidential, national assembly, and governorship election to the Minting Company,
It said that while INEC paid 80 per cent of the sum, the company failed to abide by the contractual agreement, which required it to deliver the materials within 10 weeks from the date the contract was awarded.
It explained that since the minting company had no facility to execute the contract, the INEC re-awarded the contract to some British and
The CNPP, in the petition said, “To our consternation, not only did the contractors default in execution of the project, indeed none was utilised for the conduct of the elections and up till date no refund of the said sum has been made to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
On Radio equipment, the conference alleged that while a contract of N222m was awarded by INEC for the activation of existing VHF radios in the states to a favoured contractor, ‘the contractor defaulted as the radios were not activated up till now. “The said sum of N222m has not been refunded,” CNPP alleged.
On voters’ registration, it was alleged that a contract was awarded for a supply of 33,000 units of Direct Data Capture machine at a cost of N4.95bn.
The conference further alleged that the while the term of contract was breached, the company also did not supply the actual number that it was asked to.
It said, “This led INEC to fraudulently change to laptops, commercial fingerprints and cameras and the N4.95bn unaccounted for.”