The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of the 2015 Rivers governorship election, Gesila Khan has reportedly made confessions in custody of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The REC had been arrested by the zonal office of the EFCC alongside four others on Thursday, April 14 and the anti graft agency reports that over N675.1m has been discovered in the bank accounts of different electoral officers in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Delta states.
Reports say the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) received and shared the said amount during the last gubernatorial election. The Punch reports that Khan had been questioned by the Department of State Security (DSS) in July, 2015, but had no charges against her. In the recent arrest, however, the residences of all the suspects were searched and incriminating documents were said to have been recovered by the commission. Khan, who has since been deployed to Cross River state, was reported to have received N185.8m ahead of the March 28 and April 11, 2015, elections.
A reliable source with the EFCC revealed that Khan made confessional statements where it was gathered that she received the money through a special bank account. “Khan was the REC in Rivers State in 2015 election before she was transferred to Cross River early this year. She was said to have received N185.8m. She has made confessional statements,” the source revealed.
Also, one Edem Okon Essanga, a retired INEC official, was picked up by the anti graft agency alongside his alleged accomplice, Immaculata Asuquo, who is the head, voter education of INEC in Akwa Ibom. The source at the EFCC added that “Essanga received N241.1m during the general election. He admitted receiving the money and confirmed sharing it with different ad hoc workers during the election. His accomplice Asuquo has also been arrested.” Fidelia Omoile, who was the INEC electoral officer in Isoko-south local government area of Delta, was also picked up and apart the over N112m traced to her, EFCC also recovered some sensitive electoral materials. “She received N112.4m during the 2015 general election.
A search warrant was executed at her residences in Asaba and Benin. “Sensitive materials used in the 2015 elections were recovered, including evidence of the suspicious bank transaction and land documents that will assist us in our investigations,” the anonymous EFCC source revealed. INEC’s administrative secretary in Delta, Oluchi Obi-Brown, was among those picked up and investigations by EFCC showed that she allegedly received over N111m and had about $75,000 in an account in the United States.
The source added that “Oluchi received N111.5m during the general election. Investigations showed that she operates a foreign account with the Bank of America. As of February this year, the account balance was $75,857, (N24, 274,240),” explaining further that the total amount found in the bank accounts of the INEC officials stands at N675.1m. And according to the anonymous source, the commission was banking on the confessional statements to catch the ‘big fish’.