N360m Bribery Allegation: Court moves trial of 23 INEC officials to Port Harcourt
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday declined jurisdiction to try 23 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, accused of collecting N360 million bribes from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Trial Justice John Tsoho overruled the Federal Government and held that the defendants ought to be prosecuted in Rivers State where the alleged offence was committed
Thus, Justice Tsoho remitted the case-file back to the Chief Judge for it to be transferred to the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court.
The court stressed that FG failed to prove that there is security threat in Rivers State to warrant the trial to be conducted in Abuja.
The Court, however, declined to strike out the charge as it was prayed to do by the defendants.
FG had in a seven-count criminal charge it filed before the high court on March 7, alleged that the indicted INEC officials, got the bribe money from Governor Wike during the December 10, 2016, legislative re-rerun election in Rivers state.
The defence lawyers led by Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, and U.O Ukairo, said they had on March 13, filed motions to challenge powers of the high court in Abuja to adjudicate on an offence that took place in Rivers State.