EFCC Detains Sylvester Ezeani, INEC Commissioner Over N223bn Diezani Bribe
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has detained the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Abia State, Mr. Sylvester Ezeani, for his alleged role in the N23bn ($115m) that was disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
According to the EFCC, the suspect allegedly received N20m while he was the REC in Cross River State during the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
An EFCC operative told our correspondent that the REC had failed to explain what the N20m was for and had thus been detained.
He said, “The REC was on Tuesday interrogated by operatives of the EFCC in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in connection with an alleged N20million electoral scam.
“While serving in Cross River State, he was alleged to have collected the sum of N20m out of the entire N241,000,000 which was released to Cross River State from the controversial $115million lodged with Fidelity Bank Plc, by Diezani. Ezeani, who has now been redeployed in Abia State, was quizzed over his involvement in the scam. He is still in custody.”
Meanwhile, the commission also quizzed the lawmaker representing Oron federal constituency of Akwa Ibom State, Nse Bassey Ekpenyong, for his alleged involvement in a certificate forgery scam.
According to the anti-graft agency, Ekpenyong ran into trouble when a non-governmental organisation petitioned the EFCC, alleging that he committed perjury and financial crimes by submitting a forged Ordinary National Diploma/ statement of result of the Abia State Polytechnic to the Independent National Electoral Commission in the build-up to the 2015 National Assembly election.
The petitioner also alleged that Ekpenyong fraudulently obtained salaries, allowances and other financial benefits from his contrived certificate.
A detective at the commission said, “Investigations by the EFCC showed that Ekpenyong did not attend the polytechnic as alleged by the petitioner and the OND certificate did not emanate from the institution. Further investigations are ongoing on the case. Ekpenyong has been released on bail.”