Polls: EFCC arraigns two for vote-buying

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THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Gombe Zonal Office has arraigned one Musa Umar and Babangida Bappa Ciroma, before Justice Sa’ad Muhammad of the Gombe State High Court on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and bribery.

Following a sensitization campaign against vote buying and selling, embarked upon by the EFCC, the Commission said an intelligence report was received on February 23, 2019, the day of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which indicated that some individuals were buying votes and giving bribes to stakeholders at Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe.

Upon receiving the intelligence, operatives of the Commission were mobilised to Maternity Polling Unit, Dukku. On reaching the venue, the first defendant was caught red-handed busy sharing money to voters on the instruction of the second defendant who is a serving councillor, representing Waziri Ward in Dukku Local Government Area Council.

Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Musa Umar and Babangida Bappa Ciroma, on or about 23rd February, 2019 on the date slated for Presidential/National Assembly’s Election at Maternity Polling Unit of Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did agree among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: caused money to be expended for election bribery and thereby committed an offence contrary to the provisions of Section 124 (5) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and Punishable under Section 124 (1) ( b) and (c) of the same Act.”

They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

In view of their plea, the prosecuting counsel, A.Y. Muntaka asked the court to fix a date for trial to commence.

While adjourning the case to April 4, 2019, Justice Sa’ad granted the defendants bail on the conditions earlier granted by the EFCC during investigation.

In a related development, the EFCC arraigned Halal Synergies Limited and Alhaji Mansur Abdulrahaman, before Justice A.M.Z. Anka of Federal High Court, Yola, Adamawa State, on a 10-count charge bordering conspiracy and money laundering on March 7, 2019.

A petition was received from the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML, EFCC Gombe Zonal office against Hamabb Motors Nigeria Limited and Halal Synergy Limited which are car dealers.

The petitioner alleged that both Hamabb Motors Nigeria Limited and Halal Synergy limited were served with letters of notification for registration as Designated Non-Financial Institutions, DNFIs in June, 2016. They were both inspected and sensitized in July 2017, and November 2017, respectively; but both refused to register as DNFIs and comply with Section 3,5 (a) and (b), 9 and 10 of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

Count one reads: “That you, Halal Synergies Limited and Alhaji Mansur Abdulrahaman (being the Managing Director of Halal Synergies Limited) and in such capacity sometime in October 2017, in Yola, Adamawa State within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did accept cash payment of N6,300,000 (Six Million,Three Hundred Thousand Naira Only) exceeding the threshold provided by Law, from one Alhaji Yahaya Sugar and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 and punishable under Section 16 (1)(d) and (h) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. 2011 (As Amended).”

They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Prosecuting counsel, G. Ndeh, thereafter, prayed the court for a date for commencement of trial.

Defence counsel, Anas Nandetti, however, moved the bail application for his clients.

While adjourning to April 14, 2019 for trial, Justice Anka granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N5 million with one surety in like sum, who must not be below 45 years, and must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court; the surety must also own a landed property within the jurisdiction.

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