The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State, Mr. Ntufam John Okon was arraigned yesterday by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the alleged N23.29b poll bribery scandal.
Moreover, Senator Chris Anyanwu and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ahamba, were also interrogated on the matter.
The three were allegedly paid N1.2billion.
Anyanwu and Ahamba were allegedly paid N700m. Okon is in EFCC’s custody for taking N500million.
Okon, who was being detained yesterday, may be charged to court.
Also, the EFCC has discovered that some of the suspects implicated in the scandal have gone overseas.
Among the suspects are some oil industry chiefs who were believed to have been used by former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The oil barons contributed $88.35million of the $115million (N23.29b) sent to Fidelity Bank by the ex-minister.
The money was for some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to alter the results of last year’s presidential election.
According to a top source in EFCC, Anyanwu and Ahamba were interrogated at the EFCC’s zonal office in Enugu on Wednesday.
But the source said they were released on administrative bail and asked to return for interaction on a scheduled date.
The source said: “Following the ongoing screening of the distribution list of the N23.29b cash, we discovered that N700million was paid to Anyanwu and Ahamba at Fidelity Bank in Ikenegbu Layout branch in Owerri.
“The payment was effected by the detained Head of Operations of Fidelity Bank, Martin Izuogbe, based on the directive of the MD of the bank.
“We have invited and interrogated Anyanwu and Ahamba at our Enugu Zonal Office on how they came about the cash, for what purpose and how the remittance trickled down – if it did.
“They have been granted administrative bail, but they were asked to come back on a scheduled date.”
“Okon was arrested in Calabar, the Cross River State capital for collecting N500million of the money.
“Investigations by the EFCC showed that Okon collected the money on 26th March, 2015 at a branch of Fidelity Bank in Calabar.
“The money was placed in the transit account at the Corporate Headquarters of Fidelity Bank but cash was made available to Okon in the Calabar branch of the bank,“ a source close to the investigation said, pleading not to be named because of what he described as the “sensitivity” of the matter.
“Okon is in the custody of the EFCC and would be charged to court soon,” he added.
Of the oil barons involved in the scandal, the source said: “Some of these oil barons who contributed to the $115million poll bribery cash have shifted base abroad but we have located their whereabouts.
“They have forgotten that the law can catch up with them anywhere. And their arrest is easier abroad than at home, which they are afraid of.
“And since a huge chunk of the $115million was sourced from stolen crude, so many people were parties to the deal and with diligent investigation, we can track all these shady activities.”