The Department of State Service (DSS) has arraigned three persons including two staff of the Independent National electoral Commission (INEC), before a Chief Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for allegedly selling 3,097 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), belonging to various registrants which were in custody of the commission.

The INEC staff, Bersor Sorle (39) and Monday Rowland Ifesimama (52), as well as Darlington Ogolo (42), were arraigned on an eight-count charge of conspiracy and stealing.
The accused persons allegedly committed the offence between May and August, 2018, at INEC office, in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of the state.

On count two, Ogolo gave the sum of N300,000 as bribe to Sorle, Higher Executive Officer of INEC, in an exchange for over 1,000 PVCs registered under Ward 7 of Opobo/Nkoro LGA and committed an offence contrary to Section 98 (4) of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, 1999.

Ogolo also gave Ifesimama, Chief Clerical Officer of INEC, the sum of N120,000, as bribe to fraudulently facilitate registration of prospective voters by proxy, under the same Ward 7, and committed an offence contrary to Section 98 (A) (1) of the Criminal Code Law of the Rivers State, 1999.

However, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the eight-count charge levelled against them.
The trial Chief Magistrate S. Andrew-Jaja, granted them N200,000 bail each, with three sureties, and who must be civil servants on not less than Level 12, resident in Port Harcourt.

Similarly, DSS arraigned a 25-year-old Philemon Lawrence, for impersonating an INEC personnel with the intent to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, after promising them employment as INEC hoc staff after they paid the sum of N3,800 into his UBA account.
Lawrence, who was arraigned on a three-count charge, perpetrated the crime between December, 2018, and January, 2019.

The matters were adjourned till February, 20.


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