How Iwu landed in trouble · Linked to Atiku’s server controversy · Lawyer kicks over bail conditions
Fresh insight have emerged of how a former National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Maurice Iwu, was arraigned before a Federal High Court Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The EFCC, last Thursday, arraigned Iwu before the court on a four-count charge bordering on money laundering. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Abuja Inquirer has learnt that it was not all about money laundry that landed the former INEC boss in court, rather his ‘services’ to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, in his legal quest challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the April 2019 presidential election.
A source aware of the issue told The Abuja Inquirer in confidence that Iwu being a consultant to the electoral body had breached his confidentiality agreement be divulging ‘sensitive information to the Atiku camp,” the source, who asked not to be named, hinted.
“I can tell you that the former INEC chairman behaved badly as a consultant to the INEC by providing classified information to the PDP candidate (Atiku) in challenging the victory of President Buhari,” the source said.
Atiku has alleged that he won the election going be records in the INEC server, a claim that the electoral body has dismissed as non-existent.
Last week, the court presided over by Justice Chuka Obiozor slammed a N1bn bail on Iwu for an alleged fraud of N1.23bn.
Iwu was, however, granted bail to the tune of N1 billion and two sureties.
The judge said one of the sureties must own a landed property in Lagos while the other must be a professor or a civil servant not below Grade Level 16.
He said both sureties must present their bank statements, showing a minimum balance of N1bn. The sureties are also to submit their recent passport photographs.
Iwu was also ordered to submit his passport to the court.
The judge ordered that he should be remanded in the prison custody pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.
Following the order, Iwu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor of Adulbert Legal Services, Abuja, said the bail terms were “unreasonable, excessive, impossible and potentially unconstitutional.”
According to Ejimakor, the bail terms were also “unrealisable or impossible to meet.”
“The right to bail is constitutionally guaranteed under Sections 35(1) and 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution. The basic parameter as set out in subsidiary legislations and quantum court decisions is that bail ‘shall be fixed with due regard to the circumstances of the case and shall not be excessive.’ The operative word here is ‘excessive’, which is clearly present in Iwu’s case,” Ejimakor said.
He added that it amounted to implausibleness that a civil servant or a professor would have a bank balance of N1bn, unless he inherited it or won the lottery.
Efforts to get the All Progressives Congress as well as the INEC speak on the development proved abortive as calls to the spokespersons were not responded to.
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