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Benue Electoral Commission Chairman, Others Arraigned for N500m Fraud

The Chairman of the Benue Electoral Commission and others have been charged with defrauding the state of N500 million.

On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Makurdi Zonal Office arraigned Look Tersoo Joseph, Chairman, Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC); Serki Mtomba Manaseh, Secretary; Akange Akula, Treasurer; and 5 other members/Commissioners: Before Justice Abdu Dogo of the Federal High Court in Makurdi, Benue State, Abe Aboyi Augustine, Donald Kertyo, Agber Aondona Emmanuel, Sunday Agbaji, and Ekoja Daniel.

The defendants were charged with a total of N500,000,000 in conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation, forgery, and money laundering charges (Five Hundred Million Naira only).


Count one of the charge reads:

“That you Hon. Look Tersoo Joseph, the Chairman of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), Hon. Serki Mtomga Manasseh, the Secretary of BSIEC, Hon. Akange Akula, the Chief Accountant of BSIEC, Hon. Abe Aboyi Augustine, the Commissioner for Planning, Research & Documentation of BSIEC, Hon. Barr. Donald Kertyo, the Commissioner for Operations of BSIEC, Hon. Agber Aondona Emmanuel, the Commissioner for Works & Transport of BSIEC, Hon.

Sunday Agbaji, the Commissioner for Information & Public Affairs of BSIEC, Hon. Ekoja Daniel, the Commissioner for Finance of BSIEC, sometime between February to June, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”. 

Count three reads: 

“That you Hon. Look Tersoo Joseph, the Chairman of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), on or about the 28th day of May, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) through one of your Administrative Officer, Aungwa Dominic, which sum exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act”. 

Count four reads: 

“That you Hon. Serki Mtomga Manasseh, the Secretary of Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), on or about the 16th day of March, 2020, in Makurdi, Benue State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did accept cash payment of Thirty-Two Million Naira (32,000,000.00) through your Confidential Secretary, Tsetim Christiana, which sum exceeded the cash payable to an individual and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) and 16(1)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”

The defendants filed their pleas of “not guilty” to the allegations brought against them. Prosecution counsel Ramiah Ikhanaede requested a trial date and that all defendants be remanded in a Correctional Facility based on their pleas. However, the defendants’ attorney, B. A. Iorhegh, filed an oral application to the court, requesting that the defendants be admitted to bail on self-recognizance or, in the alternative, be taken into custody.

The defendants were granted bail in the amount of N10 million each, with one surety in the same amount, by Justice Dogo.

Surety must own and work in Benue State and have a fully developed landed property worth N50 million. He must also supply two recent passport images as well as original appointment letters.

All defendants are prohibited from leaving Nigeria without the permission of the Court.

The case has been adjourned until September 28, 2021, when the trial will begin.


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Mark Andura

Written by Mark Andura

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