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#Anambra2013: Electoral officer who allegedly sabotaged the election arraigned in Abuja court

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#Anambra2013: Electoral officer who allegedly sabotaged the election arraigned in Abuja court

By Paul Osas

An Abuja Chief Magistrate court yesterday heard the plea of one of the suspected architects of the Anambra State governorship election fiasco, and has ordered that he be remanded in police custody till December 2.

Chukwujekwu Okeke, 54, is the official, who allegedly sabotaged the distribution of election materials in Idemili North Local Government Area, on November 16.

The prosecutor, Stanley Nwodo, a deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) from the Force CID, said on November 16, the accused unlawfully breached his official duties at Idemili, where he was deployed.

Nwodo told the court that the accused deliberately withheld the materials designed for the elections, thereby, breaching electoral procedures.

He urged the court to give the police 14 days to enable them complete investigation into the matter. Nwodo said Okeke, who pleaded not guilty, was standing trial on a one-count charge of dereliction of duty, contrary to Section 123 (1) (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2010.

Counsel to the accused, Mr Daniel Nwogbodo, applied for bail for his client under Section 341 of the Criminal Procedures Code and Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. The sections, which highlight bail as a right of a citizen, say that an accused is considered innocent until otherwise proven. Nwogbodo told the court that his client was a senior civil servant and a responsible family man who would not jump bail. He also said that his client had a health condition (high blood pressure), which started deteriorating in Awka, the Anambra State capital where he was held in police custody before being transferred to the Force CID in Abuja.

Nwogbodo also told the court that Okeke would not jeopardise police investigation, if granted bail.

Chief Magistrate Usman Shuaibu, ordered that Okeke be remanded till December 2, this is to enable the police complete their investigation into the matter. The accused’s application for bail is also to be considered on that day.

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