The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned two lawyers for allegedly rigging the August 2018 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) national elections.
The duo; Sarah Ajibola and John Demide, were made to appear before Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High court in Lagos on Thursday.
The anti-graft agency alleged that they manipulated the election in favour of Paul Usoro SAN, who was elected 29th NBA President in 2018.
Usoro had polled 4,509 votes to defeat other contenders, Okafor Obi, and Ernest Ojukwu, who got 4,423 and 3,313 votes in the election respectively.
EFCC counsel, Bilikisu Buhari Bala noted that the defendants committed the offences in August, 2018.
The two lawyers were alleged to have conspired to alter personal details, including email addresses and phone numbers of about 1004 eligible voters for the elections, with the intention that such inauthentic data will be acted upon as genuine during the said election.
The defendants were alleged to have used a smoke model on IP address 18.104.22.168 to commit the electoral fraud.
The offences, alleged to have been committed by the defendants contravened and punishable under sections 27(1)(b), 13, 22(2), 22(3) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention etc.) Act, 2015.
The lawyers, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The defendants’ counsel, N. E. Ogeibe and Deborah Ogundele, prayed the court to admit them to bail “in the most liberal terms.”
The presiding judge, after listening to them, admitted each defendant to bail in the sum of N500,000 with one surety each.
Justice Obiozor ordered that in EFCC’s custody for seven days in order to fulfill their bail terms, failure of which they will be transferred to the custody of Nigeria Correctional Services (NCS).
The case was thereafter adjourned to April 14, 15, 16, 20, 21 and 22, 2021, for commencement of trial.