N80.2bn: Yahaya Bello Absent In Court Again Amidst EFCC Ongoing Search

N80.2bn Fraud: Yahaya Bello Absent In Court Again Amidst EFCC Ongoing Search

1 month ago
1 min read

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is intensifying efforts to find Yahaya Bello, the former Governor of Kogi State, amidst an N80.2 billion money laundering charge he faces alongside his nephew, Ali Bello, and others.

In a later court session, the EFCC encouraged Justice Emeka Nwite not to allow any applications from Bello’s legal team until he shows up in court to enter his plea. “Until Yahaya Bello presents himself, we cannot proceed,” emphasized Kemi Piniero (SAN), the EFCC’s lawyer, during the hearing.

Yahaya Bello, who has been declared wanted by both the police and immigration services, has been tricky, inciting the EFCC to seek the court’s assistance in serving him the charge sheet.

In spite of the court’s agreement to serve the sheet on Yahaya Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), the defense maintains that the warrant of arrest against Bello ought to be set aside, arguing that it undermines the interest of justice.

Adedipe stated, “A warrant of arrest cannot be hanging on Bello’s neck when we are in this court.” He expressed concerns over the fairness of the proceedings, stating that his client feels equity may not be served.

READ ALSO: N80.2bn Fraud: Court Of Appeal To Hear EFCC Argument Against Yahaya Bello

However, Piniero countered, stating that the court’s jurisdiction hinges on Bello’s physical presence. “All these applications by the defendant are to prevent his arraignment and frustrate the commencement of trial,” Piniero retorted.

The judge, after hearing both parties, scheduled May 10, 2024, for ruling on the application seeking the revocation of the warrant of arrest. The case against Bello arises from allegations of money laundering and misappropriation, with allegations that he and others misappropriated N80,246,470,088.88.

The EFCC alleges that these money were used to buy properties in Lagos and Abuja, as well as reserved in Bello’s personal bank account in the United States.

The circumstance is further complicated by a parallel legal battle in a Kogi State high court, where an injunction has restrained the EFCC from capturing or prosecuting Bello.

In any case, this injunction is under appeal, awaiting a final verdict. Yahaya Bello’s impending arraignment comes in the midst of the ongoing trial of his nephew, Ali Bello, and others for fraud, indicating a broader investigation into financial misconduct including the former governor.

The EFCC’s determination to prosecute Yahaya Bello underscores the agency’s commitment to tackling corruption at all levels, in any case of political stature. As the legal saga unfolds, the question of Bello’s whereabouts remains essential, highlighting the challenges of ensuring accountability in public office.


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