Bribery: Court Dismisses Post-Trial Bail Applications Of 2 Convicted INEC Officials

Bribery: Court Dismisses Post-Trial Bail Applications Of 2 Convicted INEC Officials

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday dismissed two separate post-trial bail applications filed by two convicted former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials, Christian Nwosu and Tijani Bashir for lack of merit.

Justice Ayokunle Faji, who struck out the applications in a ruling delivered on Monday, held that the convicts failed to convince the court of special circumstances or reasons why they should be granted bail pending the determination of their appeal.

The judge therefore ruled that having failed to show any cause why the applications should be granted he cannot exercise his discretion in their favour.

Nwosu who was former administrative secretary of INEC in Kwara State and Bashir were convicted by Justice Mohammed Idris for receiving N264.8 million gratification from former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke towards the build-up to 2015 General Elections

They were convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment on January 25 for the offence.

But the convicts not being satisfied with their convictions by the court approached the Court of Appeal to upturn the judgment and also filed bail applications before the lower court, seeking for their release from prison pending determination of their appeal.

Before handing down the verdict, Justice Idris had stated, “The convicts were officials of INEC and were expected to conduct themselves as impartial umpires in carrying out their activities.

“I understand it to be the mission of INEC to serve as an independent and effective election management body that is committed to the conduct of free, fair and credible election for sustainable democracy in Nigeria.

“These convicts by their conduct acted in breach of these objectives. Their actions were a disgrace to the institution and a threat to democracy.

“INEC officials must be made to understand that their conduct must be within the ambit of the law and that anyone who breaches the law will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

“It must be understood that leadership and governance are serious matters that should be handed over to the most patriotic, best informed minds and the brightest brains for purposes of accountability, responsibility and prosperity of our nation.

“This country must not be allowed to descend into anarchy, despondency and political infamy by the conduct of an official of government.

“This country cannot afford an unhealthy electoral body as we go into the forthcoming election. INEC must note that this country deserves a credible election. Anyone that acts contrary to the law will be dealt with.

“In this regard, the country only needs those with indomitable courage and impeccable political will to perform this duty and those who play ignoble role must be identified.

“Evil communication, they say, corrupts good manners. In the light of the alocutus, the court will temper justice with mercy to the extent only permitted by the law.

“Again, a strong message must be sent to INEC that the eyes of the world is on them. The entire nation is watching and those who decide contrary to their code of office will be identified.

“When they are identified, they will be prosecuted and if found guilty will be punished severely,” the judge stated.

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