The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wednesday re-arraigned a former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Administrative Secretary, Mr. Christian Nwosu, alongside Tijani Bashir for allegedly offering and accepting gratification.
The two INEC officials were charged alongside a former Minister of Petroleum Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (“still at large”) and Yisa Adedoyin, who had earlier been convicted after pleading guilty.
Nwosu had pleaded guilty to receiving N30million bribe from to rig the 2015 general election results.
They allegedly conspired to directly take possession of N264,880.000 which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act, which is gratification.
They were also alleged of have made cash payment of N70,050,000 to Yisa Adedoyin, which exceeded the amount authorised by law without going through a financial institution.
Bashir was accused of indirectly taking possession of and retaining N164,880 million, which he reasonably ought to have known forms part of gratification.
Bashir was also charged with indirectly retaining N30 million, being part of the proceeds of an unlawful act: criminal misappropriation.
The prosecution said he indirectly concealed the N30million.
The alleged offences were committed on March 27 and April 7, 2015.
EFCC had closed its case after its witnesses.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he would not call any further witness despite the amended charge.
Before the re-arraignment, Nwosu’s lawyer had opposed the move on the basis that it would further delay the case.
He said the prosecution did not respond to his no-case client’s submission despite being served.
He argued that the amendment would defeat the object of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 which provides for speedy dispensation of cases.
But Oyedepo argued that the law allows the prosecution to amend a charge at any time before judgment is delivered.
Ruling, Justice Mohammed Idris held that EFCC was at liberty to amend its charge at any time during proc feedings.
“The law says ‘anytime before judgment’. It does not specify the time. I accept the amended charge,” the judge ruled.
After the re-arraignment, he allowed the defendants to remain on bail earlier granted them.
He adjourned until March 29 for adoption of written addresses in the no-case submission.