Following the confession of the former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, to helping the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rig elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC) has revealed why it can’t prosecute him. The police have also given the reason why it can they can’t arrest Mantu as well.
According to the Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, the Electoral Act (Sections 149 and 150), gives INEC powers to prosecute electoral offenders but does not give the commission the power to make arrests and investigate electoral crimes.
Osaze-Uzzi yesterday said that “if any security agency sends a report to the commission regarding Mantu’s claim, then INEC will take action.”
“We are not an investigative body. We can only prosecute when investigation had been concluded.”
“The security agencies have to investigate first and when they have concluded their investigation, they will send the case files to us and if there is a case that has been established, we will prosecute.”
In what appears to be a loophole in the constitution, a senior police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday, told Punch that the police could not take any action against the former deputy Senate president because there was no complaint before the police about Mantu’s alleged violation of the electoral laws.
The source said, “Notwithstanding the admission of electoral crime by the former deputy Senate President, we can only investigate him if there is a formal complaint by INEC or other agencies.”
“For now, we don’t regard the telecast as an admission of crime until we receive a complaint following which we would invite Mantu and interrogate him.”