The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to arrest more officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and election monitors that received various bribes in the N23bn funds from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The EFCC had arrested the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, for handling $115m for Diezani in the build-up to the presidential election.
Okonkwo was alleged to have helped in converting the money to N23bn which was then disbursed to INEC officials and election monitors under the instruction of Diezani’s son, Ugonna, for the electoral chiefs to manipulate the poll results.
A reliable source at the EFCC said, “Ugonna prepared a list of beneficiaries that would get the money and it was distributed about a day or two before the elections. We have started tracing those who collected money and our aim is to recover the funds.
“All the electoral officers, who betrayed public trust would be arrested. All EFCC zonal offices have been given the directive to investigate in their respective areas of jurisdictions.”
The EFCC had, two weeks ago, arrested the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the 2015 election in Rivers State, Mrs. Gesila Khan, for allegedly collecting N185.8m while one Fidelia Omoile who was the INEC electoral officer in the Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State, allegedly got N112.4m.
Apart from tracing over N112m to her, the commission also recovered some sensitive electoral materials during a search on her apartments in Edo and Delta states.
The commission also arrested one Oluchi Brown, who was the INEC administrative secretary in Delta State. She allegedly received over N111m.
Further investigations by detectives revealed that Brown had about $75,857 in an account in the United States.
The anti-graft agency also arrested one Edem Effanga, who is a retired INEC official.
He was arrested alongside his alleged accomplice, Immaculata Asuquo, who is the Head, Voter Education, INEC, Akwa Ibom State.
He was alleged to have received over N241.1m, which he allegedly shared among INEC ad hoc workers during the last election.
Meanwhile, the commission has intensified its search for Diezani’s son.
According to sources at the EFCC, Ugonna is the key to arresting all those involved in the case.
EFCC officials had stated that Diezani’s son served as a middleman between the ex-minister and the bank MD.
Ugonna is the Head of Business Development and Commercial Marketing at Radam Maritime Services Limited, a firm, which is headed by his father, Alison Madueke, a former Chief of naval Staff, who is also under investigation by the EFCC for alleged money laundering.
He is said to have business interests in the United States and the United Kingdom.
A senior official, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said, “We have launched a manhunt for Ugonna, who the suspects said was the one who drew up a list of individuals, who should be given the N23bn ($115m).
“We don’t know exactly where he is but we will get him. He needs to explain his role in the sharing of the money because the bank officials have been mentioning his name since they were brought in.”
Ugonna, who is an engineer, burst into the limelight in 2012 when photos showing his ostentatious lifestyle went viral on the Internet.
In one of such pictures, the graduate of University of Maryland College Park in the US, was seen flying in a private jet and later drinking champagne in a limousine. He has also been seen displaying wads of dollar notes on social media.
Meanwhile, sources at the EFCC said that it would arrest more employees of Fidelity Bank, who allegedly participated in the sharing of the $115m.
A detective told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that there were others in the bank, especially at the Head Office, who would have been aware of the bazaar but failed to alert the appropriate authorities.
“Currently, we have the MD as well as the Head of Operations, Mr. Martins Izuogbe. However, we have reason to believe that they are not the only two that were involved in the bazaar. In the coming days, we will arrest more workers,” he said.