Two employees of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were, on Thursday, arraigned before a Chief Magistrates’ Court by the Department of State Services (DSS) for allegedly stealing over 3,097 Permanent Voter Cards belonging to eligible voters in Rivers State.

The suspects identified as Beesor Sorle, 39, and Monday Ifesimama, 52, were arraigned in Port Harcourt alongside one Darlington Ogolo, 42.

The three suspects were charged with conspiracy, stealing and selling of PVCs, bribery and attempt to register intending voters by proxy.

Ifiesimama and Sorle were accused of attempting to steal 3, 097 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and sell them to Ogolo, whose identity was still under investigation.

On count two, Ogolo gave the sum of N300,000 as bribe to Sorle, higher executive officer of INEC, in exchange for over 1,000 PVCs registered under Ward 7 of Opobo/Nkoro LGA and committed an offence contrary to Section 98 (4) of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, 1999.

Ogolo also allegedly gave Ifesimama, chief clerical officer of INEC, the sum of N120,000, as bribe to fraudulently facilitate registration of prospective voters by proxy, under the same Ward 7, and committed an offence contrary to Section 98 (A) (1) of the Criminal Code Law of the Rivers State, 1999.

However, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the eight-count charge.

Chief Magistrate S.D. Andrew-Jaja, however, admitted the three accused persons to bail in the sum of N100, 000 each with a surety each in same amount.

Andrew-Jaja ordered that the sureties must be Civil Servants on not less than Grade Level 12 in Rivers State Civil Service.

He thereafter adjoined the matter until Feb. 20, for hearing.

In another development, the DSS arraigned one Philemon Lawrence, 25, who allegedly paraded himself as INEC official.

Lawrence was accused of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public after promising his victims jobs as INEC ad hoc staff.

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