A former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Idongesit Nkanga, has been arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr. Nkanga, a retired air commodore, is accused of receiving N450,000,000(Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira only) from the sleazy $115million deposited by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, with Fidelity Bank Plc.
EFCC insiders said the former governor was arrested in Port- Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Monday.
Sources said Mr. Nkanga was alleged to have collected the money in two tranches, from one Saint-Anthony Ejiowu, a staff of Fidelity Bank in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The first tranche of the money – N350,000,000 (Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Million Naira only) was paid to the politician on March 27, 2015, our sources said.
Mr. Nkanga allegedly received the second tranche of N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million Naira only) on March 31, 2015.
“He is in the custody of the EFCC and would be charged to court soon,” an official said.
The EFCC arrested the former governor just as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, assured Nigerians that the Commission would cooperate with the anti-graft agency in regarding its personnel named in the scandal.
According to a statement by the commission’s Director, Voters’ Education and Publicity, Oluwole Ozaze-Uzzi on Monday, Mr. Yakubu gave the assurance during a meeting with editors in Lagos.
“Whatever level of cooperation any of the agencies requires of the Commission, we will give that level of cooperation because it is also in a bid to sanitize the system,” Mr. Yakubu was quoted as saying.
“I hope also it (investigation) will extend to the givers not just the takers so that there will be collective sanity. Whoever violates the law of this land and there are questions to answer, the person should answer, the person should bear his own cross.
“All the staff that are fingered are individuals. It is not a collective institutional thing. They should go and answer for what they have alleged to have done.”
Some staff of the electoral body were alleged to have received a cumulative N23 billion in bribe from Mrs. Alison-Madueke, through Fidelity Bank.
Prominent among the accused INEC staff were Gesila Khan, the Resident Electoral Commissioner who had earlier been arrested by the State Security Service over allegations of inducement to rig elections in Rivers State; and Uluochi Obi Brown (INEC’s Administrative Secretary in Delta State), former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River state, Edem Okon Effanga, and the Head of Voter Education in INEC in Akwa Ibom, Immaculata Asuquo.
Also under investigation is retired INEC official, Sani Isa, who allegedly collected bribe on behalf of the deceased Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kano State, Mukaila Abdullahi.
Also two unnamed former INEC chiefs were said to have participated in aiding the flow of the bribe money.
The alleged bribery scandal involved bank chiefs, including Sterling Bank Chief Executive, Yemi Adeola, the removed Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo and Access Bank Managing Director, Hubert Wigwe, who allegedly assisted Mrs. Alison-Maduekwe in laundering part of the fund which was allegedly handed to INEC staff in a plot to influence outcomes of the 2015 presidential poll.
The integrity of the elections in the South-South region, particularly Rivers State, has been questioned by many organisations, including foreign observers and the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) whose report claimed results in the oil-rich region were inflated.
A citizen group, Enough is Enough, last week filed a Freedom of Information request asking EFCC to disclose identities of the former INEC chiefs, all the electoral staff and civil society organizations involved in the alleged bribery.