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July 24, 2024

Kogi N80bn fraud: EFCC finally serves Yahaya Bello his charges

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has served former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello with charges over alleged N80.2 billion.

EFCC said the charges were served to Bello through his counsel, Abdulwahab Muhammad (SAN) after Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja ruled that he should be served through his counsel.

The judge ruled following Bello’s refusal to appear in Court.

However, a statement by EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity of the Commission, Dele Oyewole reads: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is prosecuting Yahaya Bello alongside Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu on 19-count charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of N80, 246, 470,089.88k (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty-six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand and Eighty-nine Naira, Eighty-eighty Kobo).”

During Tuesday’s sitting, Bello’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), prayed the court to quash the arrest warrant granted by the Commission against Bello, arguing that Tuesday’s substituted service to the defendant through his counsel, Abdulwahab Muhammad (SAN) has invalidated the arrest warrant.

The counsel said, “The court is expected to do justice at all times. A warrant of arrest cannot be hanging on Bello’s neck when we are in this court. It appears to us that the defendant will not get justice because the court granted a warrant of arrest before service.

However, prosecution counsel, Kemi Piniero (SAN), in response, urged the court to decline hearing on any motion from Bello’s legal team until the defendant is physically present in court for his arraignment.

“The stage we are in now is to determine the whereabouts of the defendant. He cannot be in his house while the trial proceeds without him coming here to take his plea. My Lord, this is a criminal matter, not a civil matter, he must come and take his plea. It is a matter of over N80 billion. All these applications by the defendant are to prevent his arraignment and frustrate the commencement of trial,” he said.

After hearing both counsels, Justice Nwite adjourned ruling on the defence’s application, seeking a revocation of the arrest warrant on Bello till May 10, 2024.

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