INEC deputy director, another jailed 19 years over Diezani bribe

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kano zonal office, has secured the conviction of a deputy director of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Auwal Jibrin, and one Garba Ismaila, on a six-count charge of unlawful enrichment and gratification.

Justice Yusuf Birnin-Kudu of the Jigawa State High Court sitting in Gumel sentenced the INEC official 12 years, while Ismaila was jailed seven years.

Their journey to prison started after the commission received intelligence report that they benefited from the $115,010,000 largesse of a former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

Investigations showed that they got N45 million from the N250 million disbursed in Jigawa purportedly to influence the outcome of the 2015 election.

During the trial, the prosecution presented five witnesses and tendered 20 exhibits to prove the case against them.

Delivering judgement, Justice Birnin-Kudu held that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt all the elements and facts of the case as contained in the charge and the testimonies of prosecution witnesses and exhibits tendered.

The court added that the defence team failed to counter the prosecution’s evidence through its witnesses.

Thus, it found the first defendant guilty on count two, while the second defendant was found guilty on counts one and three.

Counsel representing the second defendant, Jonathan Methezidie, who also held brief for counsel representing the first defendant, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing the defendants.

After listening to the plea of the defence for mercy, the trial judge sentenced the first defendant seven years without option of fine, while the second defendant, who was the INEC deputy director, was sentenced six years each on counts one and three.

The court further ordered the final forfeiture of the recovered monies and properties attached to the investigation, with the exception of a three-bedroom flat at Hadeja Road, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State.