The bid by the Federal Government to commence the trial of 23 staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accused of collecting N360 million bribe from politicians during the last National Assembly re-run election in Rivers State suffered a major set-back on Tuesday.
This is because all the indicted staff of INEC are opposed to facing trial in Abuja on the account that the alleged offence, given the prosecution’s proof of evidence did not take place in the Federal Capital Territory.
They are therefore contending that assuming without conceding that there is a prima facie case made out against them, the proper place would not be the Federal Capital Territory but the jurisdiction where the alleged offence was allegedly committed.
In a preliminary objection raised by their counsel Tuesday through their lead counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), they are challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to try them.
The INEC staff were brought to court under a tight security provided by various security agencies and they were billed to be arraigned on a seven-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and Punishable under Section 15 of the Act.