The Department of State Service (DSS), yesterday, arraigned three persons, including two staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), before a chief magistrate’s court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for allegedly selling 3,097 permanent voter’s cards (PVCs).
The INEC staff, Sorle, 39, and Ifesimama, 52, as well as Ogolo, 42, were arraigned on eight counts of conspiracy and stealing.
The accused persons allegedly committed the offence between May and August, 2018, at the INEC office in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of the state.
On count two, Ogolo gave the sum of N300,000 as bribe to Sorle, higher executive officer of INEC, in exchange for over 1,000 PVCs registered under Ward 7 of Opobo/Nkoro LGA and committed an offence contrary to Section 98 (4) of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, 1999.
Ogolo also allegedly gave Ifesimama, chief clerical officer of INEC, the sum of N120,000, as bribe to fraudulently facilitate registration of prospective voters by proxy, under the same Ward 7, and committed an offence contrary to Section 98 (A) (1) of the Criminal Code Law of the Rivers State, 1999.
However, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the eight-count charge.
The trial magistrate, S. Andrew-Jaja, granted them bail of N200,000 each, with three sureties, who must be civil servants of not less than Level 12 and resident in Port Harcourt.
Similarly, the DSS arraigned 25-year-old Lawrence for impersonating an INEC staff with the intent to defraud members of the public, promising them employment as INEC ad hoc staff after they must have paid N3,800 into his UBA account.
The matters were adjourned till February 20.