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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Anambra polls: INEC official charged with negligence

 by Adelanwa Bamgboye
Prof. Attahiru Jega
The man in the centre of the storm that stalls the Anambra governorship election has been charged with negligence of duty in an Abuja court.
Chukwujekwu Okeke, 54 INEC official in charge of Idemili North, election faces one year jail term or N500,000 fine as stipulated in the electoral Act.
He was charged at Wuse Zone 2 Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday and was ordered to be remanded in police custody till December 2.
Chief Magistrate Mr Usman Shuaibu said this was to enable the police complete investigation in the matter.
He also said that the accused’s application for bail would be considered on that day.
Earlier, the prosecutor, Dsp Stanley Nwodo, from the Force CID, said that on Nov. 16, the accused unlawfully breached his official duties at Idemili, where he was deployed.
Nwodo informed the court that the accused deliberately withheld electoral materials designed for the elections, thereby, breaching electoral procedures.
He prayed the court to give the police 14 days to enable it complete investigation into the matter.
Nwodo said that the accused, who pleaded not guilty, was standing trial on a one-count charge of dereliction of duty contrary to Section 123 (1) (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
The counsel to the accused, Mr Daniel Nwogbodo, applied for bail for his client saying that an accused is considered innocent until otherwise proven.
Nwogbodo said his client was a senior civil servant and a responsible family man and would not jump bail if granted.
He also said that his client had a health condition (high Blood Preasure), which started deteriorating in Awka where he was held in police custody before being transferred to the force CID in Abuja.
Nwogbodo also told the court that his client would not jeopardise police investigation. (NAN)
Section 123 of the Electoral Act stipulates that “any officer appointed for the purposes of this Act, who without lawful excuse commits any ,act or omits to act in breach of his official duty commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000.00 or to imprisonment for 12 months or both.


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