The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday said it would prosecute 25 workers of the commission who were indicted by the report of the Joint Police/DSS Special Investigation Panel on the Rivers State rerun elections of December 10, 2017
The panel had indicted the 25 officials for allegedly collecting N111.3m during the rerun elections which the panel said was later recovered.
The National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi, said this during a press briefing on the report of the Prof. Okechukwu Ibeano’s panel on the Rivers rerun election, in Abuja, on Thursday.
He said the commission would cooperate with the police to ensure the prosecution of the indicted officials.
Soyebi also said that the report of the administrative panel of inquiry set up by the commission to probe the activities of INEC officials in the Rivers rerun election indicted 28 officials who would face disciplinary action “for gross misconduct, dereliction of duty and negligence.”
He added that the commission accepted the recommendation of the panel to commend some ad hoc workers, permanent members of staff and security personnel for putting up exceptional performances under difficult situations during the elections.
The commission commended Prof. Ralph Echebiri and Prof. Oji Ekemankama both of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, who served in Rivers-West and Rivers-East senatorial districts respectively and the Divisional Police Officer who served at the Phalga Local Government Area at the time of the elections.
Soyebi added that two corps members, Aguna Isaac and Ademola Oluwatoba, who served as the Presiding Officers during the election, would be given automatic employment on completion of their service.
He said, “The commission received the report of the Joint Police/DSS Special Investigation Panel on the Rivers State rerun elections of December 10, 2016. From the report, we gathered that the police have concluded their investigations and the 25 INEC (members of ) staff who were indicted will be prosecuted.
“The commission has resolved to fully cooperate with the police in this process. In addition and without prejudice to their prosecution, the indicted INEC (members of) staff will also face the commission’s internal disciplinary process. The commission wishes to reiterate very clearly that it will not shield any of its (member of) staff that engages in any conduct that will undermine the integrity of the electoral process.
“The commission also considered the Report of its Administrative Inquiry into the December 10, 2016, Rivers State rerun elections and accepted its recommendations that all the 28 indicted (members of) staff should face internal disciplinary action for gross misconduct, dereliction of duty and negligence.”
When asked if the report of the Ibeano Panel which was leaked to some politicians and was published in paid advertorials in some national dailies was the authentic report of the panel, Soyemi admitted that it was the real report.