EFCC: We’ve Placed Top Politicians Under Surveillance To Check Vote-Buying

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is tracking financing of campaign by political parties, as part of new measures to tackle vote-buying. Wilson Uwajuren, EFCC spokesman, said this in a statement on Friday. He said the anti-graft agency is out to prosecute anyone involved in the practice of vote-buying.

Uwajuren said those offering financial inducements for votes as well as those receiving such money would be held culpable and prosecuted. Nigeria’s elections have been seriously marred with financial inducements, the last of such being the Ekiti state governorship election.

Uwajuren said the commission had mobilised its investigative resources to monitor campaign financing by political parties in Osun.

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“As part of the commission’s proactive efforts in securing the integrity of the electoral process and preventing the exercise from being used as avenue for money laundering, the EFCC has already launched massive, but discreet, surveillance of the financial flows of all the actors in the various political parties,” the statement read.

“The tracking process which is ongoing, will continue till all the scheduled elections are concluded.”

He quoted Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the commission, as saying the move is part of a collaborative initiative that will see the EFCC join forces with other law enforcement agencies to enforce compliance of provisions of the electoral act which criminalises financial inducement by political parties and their candidates.

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“We will be working with all stakeholders especially from the security and intelligence community to stop the practice of vote buying and other financial malpractices that undermine the integrity of our elections,” Magu was quoted as saying.

“It is important to state here that those who offer bribes for votes are as guilty as those who receive such gratifications. My candid advice to the electorates is to be vigilant and resist the temptation to sell their votes.

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“After the widely acclaimed peaceful transfer of power from a sitting president, who was the candidate of the then ruling party, to the candidate of the opposition party in 2015, the 2019 general election offers Nigeria the opportunity to deepen her emerging democratic culture that is free and participatory. We must guard this process by shunning all forms of electoral malpractices.”

Magu said the commission would not take any step that is not sanctioned by law, adding, however, that “no one who collects money to rig election will be spared.” The Nigeria police force had also
warned against the financial inducement during election, threatening to prosecute offenders.

Earlier on Friday, Olusegun Agbaje, resident electoral commissioner (REC) of INEC in Osun, said there would be serious problem in 2019 if the menace of vote-buying is not tackled.

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