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Diezani bribe: Court slams six years jail term on INEC deputy director

JUSTICE Yusuf Birnin-Kudu of the Jigawa State High Court in Gumel convicted and sentenced Auwal Jibrin, Deputy Director of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to six years in prison on a six-count charge for unlawful enrichment and gratification.

He was also convicted alongside Garba Ismaila, who is expected to serve seven years for their alleged role in receiving gratifications to the tune of $115,010,000, from former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

Acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said the two convicts received N45m out of the N250m disbursed in Jigawa State to influence the outcome of the 2015 elections.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Kano zonal office had acted on intelligence report which led to their prosecution and subsequent conviction.

Jibrin and Ismaila had pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the six and seven counts against them, setting the stage for full trial during which the prosecution presented five witnesses and tendered 20 exhibits against them.

One of the charges reads that “That you, Auwal Jibrin, while being a public Servant, Deputy Director with Independent National Electoral Commission, Dutse sometime in 2015, at Dutse within the Judicial Division of this Honourable court dishonestly received the sum of ₦45,000,000 (Forty Five Million Naira) from Garba Ismail, which you were not authorized to receive and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 122 of the Penal Code,” the statement reads.

In his ruling, Justice Yusuf Birnin affirmed that “the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt, all the elements and facts of the case as contained in the charge and the  testimonies of prosecution witnesses and exhibits tendered.”

He added that the defence team failed to counter the evidence presented by the prosecution through its witnesses.

The court thus found the first defendant guilty as charged on count two, while the second defendant was found guilty on counts one and three.

They were discharged on counts four, five and six but dismissed their plea for mercy before pronouncing their sentence.

The judge further ordered the final forfeiture of the recovered monies and property attached to the investigation with the exception of a three-bedroom flat attached at No. 1 Hadejia  Road, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State.

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