Staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies exposing mind-boggling fraudulent financial deals allegedly perpetrated by some top staff and management of the Commission before and during the 2023 general elections.
The aggrieved staff members led by the 2020 INEC Kaduna State Promoted Staff, made sundry allegations, impeaching on the integrity of the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and other National Commissioners, linking them to what they described as electoral fraud in the conduct of the 2023 General elections.
They also claimed there is a grand plot to manipulate the off-season gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo States.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said he was not aware of the petition to the EFCC, requested copies which were forwarded to him, promising to get back with a response before press time, which he did not do.
He, however, acknowledged that several people had written petitions on issues they felt aggrieved about, but not any to any external body or any levying such accusations on Prof. Yakubu and the National Commissioners, who he said “are doing very well in their assigned national assignments.
“We shall study the documents and get back to you soonest,” Oyekanmi had stated.
Already, one of such petitions was certified to have been received at the EFCC, according to a document made available to our reporter.
The document with EFCC stamp indicating its receipt and subsequent printout of its acknowledgement reads: “This is to certify that the petition with the following details was received by the Commission on this day Tuesday 15th August, 2023 at 12:32pm.
“Petition Number EFCC/PET/HQR/5180/2023, titled “Petition to Investigate Mohammed Auwa Mashi, submitted by 2020 INEC Kaduna State Promoted Staff”.
The petitioners, who claim to be staff members of INEC, had in the petition under reference alleged that on August 8th 2023, the Acting Resident Electoral Commissioner/Administrative Secretary, Mohammed Auwa Mashi, who they described as “a friend and university classmate to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and also a close friend and ally to the Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Commission, Bashir Wase”, had some years ago allegedly engaged in issues which should have disqualified him from being employed at the Commission.
Further in the petition they stated that the, “Mashi-led administration was characterised with accusations of corruption, sexual harassment, staff welfare deductions, impunity, among others.
“Above all, he is not qualified to occupy the position of a director representing Katsina State, but favoured by the chairman to preside over the 2023 General elections in Kaduna State.
“Shortly after the 2023 general elections, allowances meant for ad-hoc Staff for the postponed presidential election were looted and ‘discovered in Adamu Cashier’s home’ worth over N300 million and confiscated by the EFCC courtesy of a whistle-blower, case still pending,” they alleged.
They also alleged that “some days after the presidential election, the ruling party gave all staff of the state $100 each, but only the ICT Staff were given and the rest of the staff denied this money.
“On 4th August 2023, promotion arrears were credited to our accounts with huge discrepancies. Grade Level 10 step 6 in Kaduna got N34,000, whereas same grade Level and step in FCT got N163,000. Grade level 12 step 6 in Kaduna state got N143,000, same grade level and step in FCT got N352,000. Grade level 14 step 6 in Kaduna State got N151,000, same grade level and step in FCT got N483,000.
“The taxes are higher in FCT than in Kaduna state. Beside, all Staff are equal in the Commission. This is evident that we have been deliberately underpaid with step 3 instead of step 6.
“Concerted effort was made to correct the fraudulent act but suffered a heavy backlash by the management.
“It is against these premise that we have been encouraged to present this petition to intimate you about the reckless looting of Staff Welfare through clandestine efforts in Kaduna state by a confidant of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. We are patiently waiting for your swift investigation and action,” they said in the petition.
Similarly, insider information at INEC also alleged that on the 4th and 5th of February 2023, the 37 States HODs, EOPs and HOD ICT/VR were invited to the former Sheraton Hotel, Abuja (now Continental Hotel), and were allegedly given $10,000 said to have emanated from the ruling party.
“The intent of the financial inducement was to compromise the 2023 general elections since they are the managers of elections in the states, in-charge of the deployment of men and materials, including BVAS among others.
“The HQ INEC Staff were also not left out. The least person in the HQ received a minimum of $200 to $5000 from the same source depending on the salary grade level of the staff.
“The National Commissioners were allegedly also given about $380,000 through some of the staff members who have been reported to the EFCC for investigation (names withheld),” the petitioners alleged.
Another issue that is tearing the commission apart bother on allegations that Prof. Yakubu is about violating the Revised Public Service Rule, especially as it concerns the compulsory retirement of directors who have put in eight years on that level, as instructed by the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Esan.
“Whereas directors who had served eight years in office must resign, INEC directors who are affected by the policy are lobbying Prof. Yakubu to remain in office up to November 2023 so they can be used to compromise the forthcoming Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo States.
“Other MDAs like the Ministry of Finance have directed such affected directors to proceed on retirement with effect from July, 2023, while Prof. Yakubu has refused to implement the policy for reasons best known to him,” the petitioners claimed.