The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is perfecting plans to arrest some top oil barons suspected to have pooled over $115m (N23, 299,705,000 billion) to bribe some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to alter the results of 2015 Presidential Election.
One of the suspected oil barons, name withheld, Ripples Nigeria gathered, had reported at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja for interrogation on Thursday night but was asked to go to the commission’s office in Lagos for questioning.
Ripples Nigeria investigation revealed that the EFCC has so far recovered N408.7million from some of the beneficiaries of the slush funds.
The breakdown showed that the management of Fidelity Bank has refunded N49.7million which was made as profit from the disbursement of the N23.29billion provided by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
This is just as some former and serving INEC officials in Oyo and Ogun States refunded N359millon.
More officials of INEC were said to have rushed to EFCC to refund the bribe cash given to them.
Ripples Nigeria further gathered that the EFCC has invited the owners of the oil firms who contributed $88.35million out of the $115million sent to Fidelity Bank by the ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources.
One of the four oil firms implicated in the bribery saga has been linked to a former Governor of Delta State, who is serving a jail term in the United Kingdom.
It was gathered that the oil companies were actually forced by Diezani to part with $88.35million as their contributions to the campaign of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
Some of the oil chiefs were shocked by the findings of the EFCC that their donations were deployed in bribing INEC officials.
A reliable source in EFCC, who spoke in confidence, said: “Our investigation into the N23.29billion poll bribe has reached a critical stage. Six teams are working round the clock in all the geopolitical zones.
The top officials of Fidelity Bank in custody have made useful statements which included the list of all beneficiaries and bank details of payment made to them.
“We are likely to effect the arrest of more suspects, especially the oil chiefs who provided about $88.35million out of the $115million lodged in Fidelity Bank for conversion to Naira.
“One of the clues we are probing is the likelihood of these funds being laundered by the oil firms and their owners.
“If these clues are proven, they may eventually face trial for money laundering. We will surely interact with these oil magnates.
“Some oil companies are under surveillance for their covert operation in diverting taxes and revenue meant for the Federal Government to fund campaign. You can now understand why some of them were given tax waivers.”