Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the temporary forfeiture of N387 million found in the bank accounts of four former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials.
He made the order based on an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency said the respondents allegedly benefitted from N23 billion which a former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke allegedly shared to influence the 2015 general election.
They are Victor Chukwuani, Okesiji Adeniran, Gabriel Oke and Torgba Nyitse.
In a supporting affidavit, an EFCC investigator Usman Zakari said the former INEC officials received the money through a non-governmental organisation, West Africa Network of Observers (WANEO).
They were said to have formed the NGO to monitor the 2015 general elections.
According to Zakari, WANEO had a former INEC Chairman Prof Maurice Iwu as National Coordinator.
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“Although WANEO was formed under the guise of monitoring the conduct of 2015 election, distribution of Permanent Voter Cards, sensitisation of voters, delimitation of electoral constituencies, etc, its primary objective was to ensure the victory of the PDP candidate in the presidential election,” the investigator said.
Zakari said through WANEO, the former INEC officials allegedly facilitated the disbursement of N510million received from Diezani to some persons in Osun, Ogun and Oyo states.
“After the conduct of the 2015 presidential election and in order to conceal the sources of the money collected by Ogun, Osun and Oyo states, the remainder of the money was fraudulently laundered,” the investigator added.
Zakari said the EFCC recovered N387million out of the N510million from the four.
EFCC’s lawyer Nnaemeka Omenwa urged Justice Hassan to order the money’s temporary forfeiture in line with Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, No. 14, 2004.
Justice Hassan granted the ex-parte application as prayed.
He ordered that anyone interested in the money should to appear before him within 14 days to show cause as to why the N387million should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
He adjourned until August 6.