The Rivers state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has given Inyang Okoro, a justice of the supreme court, one week to withdraw his bribery allegation against Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, or risk a jail term.
According to the party, Okoro’s allegation contravenes the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offence Act 2000.
After his house was raided by the Department of State Services (DSS), Okoro had said the DSS was after him because he refused a bribe from Amaechi to compromise the governorship election appeals from Akwa Ibom, Abia and River states.
Amaechi immediately denied the allegation.
On Friday, APC berated Okoro for his “wild and baseless allegation”, contained in his letter to the National Judicial Council (NJC). It noted that while the judgement in the election dispute was given by the supreme court on January 27, 2015, Okoro alleged that Amaechi tried to bribe him on February 1, 2015.
It therefore argued that it was impossible for Amaechi to be trying to influence a ruling made four days earlier, or for the judge to have waited nine months to alert the public about the alleged bribery.
“One does not need a soothsayer to see that Justice Okoro is very confused and thinks that by mentioning the name of Amaechi in his letter, he would deceive Nigerians and play down the gravity of his sins and crimes against Rivers State people and Nigeria as a whole,” read the statement, released on Thursday in Port Harcourt,by Davies Ikanya, state chairman of the party.
“If we may ask Justice Okoro, why should Amaechi or anybody attempt to bribe him for an election upturned by both the Tribunal and the Appeal Court? An election widely condemned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the international community and both local and foreign observers who monitored the shambolic exercise in the course of which over 200 of our members were slaughtered like chicken just to install Chief Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in power at all cost?”
The party drew Okoro’s attention to the provisions of the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offence Act 2000, which makes failure to report bribery or a bribery attempt a crime punishable by both a fine and a jail term.
It quoted the relevant provisions of the said Act:
(23)-(1) Any public officer to whom any gratification is given, promised, or offered, in contravention of any provision of this Act, shall report such gift, promise or offer together with the name, if known, of the person who gave, promised or offered such gratification to him to the nearest officer of the commission or police officer.
(2) Any person from whom gratification has been solicited or obtained, or from whom an attempt has been made to obtain such gratification, in contravention of any provision of this Act, shall, at the earliest opportunity thereafter, report such soliciting or obtaining, or attempt to obtain the gratification together with the name, if known, or a true and full description of the person who solicited, or obtained, or attempted to obtain the gratification from him, to the nearest officer of the commission or police officer.
(3) Any person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with sub-sections (1) and (2) shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both fine and imprisonment.
“For failing to report the fictional bribery attempt by Amaechi, Justice Okoro has committed an offence that attracts up to two years imprisonment,” it said.
“We are hereby giving him one week to retract his worthless and satanic letter and apologise to Amaechi or we may be forced to set in motion a machinery to invoke the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offence Act 2000.”