A former Head of Service in Bauchi State has been arrested over an alleged attempt to buy votes at one of the polling units of the bye-election for Dass Constituency in the State House of Assembly.
The Commissioner of Police in Bauchi, Lawal Jimeta, confirmed the arrest during an interview with Channels Television on Saturday, saying the suspect was arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Although the suspect’s name was not revealed, the government official was said to be making an attempt to commit the crime and not caught in the act.
“What they (the EFCC) told me is that it is an attempt to buy votes; they have not caught him buying the votes but after searching him, they saw money,” the police commissioner said.
He added, “I am not privy to the statement he has written but in order to make sure that the voting process continues, especially at the voting centre where he was arrested, he was released on bail after fulfilling the conditions of the EFCC.”
Jimeta stated that the EFCC operatives did not hand over the government official to the police, explaining that it was their duty to prosecute the case since they made the arrest.
He disclosed that the suspect was asked to report to the zonal office of the anti-graft agency in Gombe State for further action.
The police commissioner said besides the incident, no other case was reported and nobody was arrested for vote-buying, causing trouble at the polling centres, or preventing the electorate from voting.
The counsel to the government official, Barrister Muktar, also confirmed the arrest of his client by the EFCC with support from operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
He stressed that the government official was arrested base on a suspicion that he has money in his car on the day of an election.
Asked if his client has violated any law, Muktar said, “To us as lawyers who know the law, it is not.
“Let me tell you, vote-buying is a situation where somebody gives money to another; this is a situation … that they stopped him while he was driving his car and they found money in his boot.”
“He is the former Head of Service of Bauchi State, so he is a high-profile personality in the state and he is capable of having such amount of money … the money is just around 500 and something thousand naira,” he added.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the legislative bye-elections in Bauchi, Lagos, Bayelsa, Cross River, Borno, and six other states.