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In Rivers Judge denies INEC commissioner bail in alleged N185M scam trial

The two ex-officials of INEC, reportedly got into trouble for allegedly collecting the said sum in the weeks preceding the 2015 Presidential election as a bribe.

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Gesila Khan Okubama play

Gesila Khan Okubama

(EFCC)

Gesila Khan Okubama, a former Resident Electoral Commissioner has been denied bail after she was arraigned by the EFCC for her alleged involvement in a scam of N185million.

According to a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, spokesman, Wilson Uwajaren on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, Okubama, who was arraigned at a Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was denied bail by Justice Salihu Saidu.

Okubama, who was arraigned alongside Peter Popnen, before Justice Salihu Saidu was accused for a five-count charge bordering on gratification and money laundering to the tune of N185,842,000 (One Hundred and Eighty Five Million, Eight Hundred and Forty Two Thousand Naira only).

The two ex-officials of INEC, reportedly got into trouble for allegedly collecting the said sum in the weeks preceding the 2015 Presidential election as a bribe.

Okubama and Popnen are among the over 100 INEC officials that allegedly collected part of the $115million (N23bn), disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the countdown to the 2015 presidential election. 

Count one of the charge read: “That you Gesila Khan Okubama, Peter Popnen, Diezani Alison Madueke (Still at large) and others now at large  on or about  the 27th day March, 2015 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among yourselves to  directly  take possession of the sum of N 185,842,000.00 (One Hundred and Eighty Five  Million, Eight Hundred and Forty Two Thousand Naira only) cash which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful  act to wit: gratification and money laundering  and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a)  of the Money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012 as amended and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act”.

Count two of the charge read: “That you Gesila Khan Okubama on or about the 13thApril, 2016 at Economic and Financial Crime Commission, 6A Olumeni Street, Off Forces Avenue, Old GRA, Port Harcourt  within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly failed to make full disclosure of  your assets and\or interest in: two blocks of two story buildings of an office complex\shopping plaza situate at Utome-Bosh, Okutukutu\Etegwe community, Yenegoa Bayelsa State in the Asset Declaration Form you filled at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on 13 April, 2016 and  thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27 (1) (3)(a)  of the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  Establishment Act 2004 and punishable under Section 27 (3) of the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  Establishment Act 2004”.

ALSO READ: How Diezani shared taxpayer money to INEC officials

Okubama and Popnen pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to them.

In his ruling, Justice Saidu turned down Okubama’s application for bail and ordered that she should be remanded in EFCC’s custody pending the determination of her bail application. 

However, Justice Saidu granted the Popnen bail in the sum of N100, 000.000, 00k (One Hundred Million Naira only) and two sureties in like sum.

The judge adjourned the matter to 9 June, 2017 for argument on bail applications and ordered the 2nd defendant to be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of his bail.

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