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Former Kogi Governor’s Arraignment for Alleged N80 Billion Money Laundering Delayed as Yahaya Bello Fails to Appear in Abuja High Court

Elishabawa 1 month ago 0 9

Bello’s lawyer argued that the defendant had secured an ex parte order from a High Court restraining the anti-graft agency from arresting and prosecuting the former governor.

The scheduled arraignment of former Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello, before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday was adjourned due to his non-appearance in court, Counsel representing Mr. Bello contended that the defendant had obtained an ex parte order from a High Court, restraining the anti-graft agency from effecting his arrest and prosecution. It was highlighted that the agency had initiated an appeal against this order at the Court of Appeal. However, Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on the preceding day, granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) permission to apprehend the embattled former governor. Despite this, the EFCC faced resistance in executing the warrant of arrest lawfully obtained against Mr. Bello, with reports indicating interference from the current Governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo, who purportedly facilitated Mr. Bello’s departure in his official vehicle. The EFCC exercised restraint in response, anticipating his arraignment on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

It is imperative to assert that Mr. Bello is subject to the law and will be brought to account in due course, emphasized the anti-graft agency through its Head of Media & Publicity, Dele Oyewale. The statement outlined Mr. Bello’s scheduled arraignment before Justice Emeka Nwite alongside three other suspects, including his cousin Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, and Abdulsalam Hudu, on 19-count charges concerning money laundering amounting to N80,246,470,088.88. The arraignment follows the issuance of a warrant of arrest and enrollment order granted to the EFCC by the court, paving the way for legal proceedings against Mr. Bello.

Count 17 of the charges reads, “That you Yahaya Bello between 26th July 2021 to 6th April 2022 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable  Court aided E-Traders International Limited to conceal the aggregate sum of  N3,081,804,654.00 (Three Billion, Eighty One Million Eight Hundred and Four Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty Four Naira) in account number 1451458080 domiciled in Access BankPlc, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit, criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15( 3) of the same Act.”

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