EFCC names Yahaya Bello, others in N84b fraud case

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has re-arraigned former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello and two others for allegedly diverting about N84 billion belonging to the state government in September 2015.

The immediate past governor, alongside his nephew Ali Bello, Dauda Suleman and Abdulsalam Hudu were all indicted in the fraud allegation said to have been committed months before he assumed office as governor.

Credible News recalls that Yahaya Bello was elected governor of Kogi on December 3, 2015 and sworn in on 27 January 2016. Counsel in the case did not provide any explanations why he is being named in an alleged corrupt conduct that happened months before he was elected.

His aides also said he is not on the run and that he has neither been invited nor quizzed by the EFCC for any wrongdoing even though he no longer enjoys immunity from prosecution.

However, Bello and Suleman pleaded not guilty to the 17 counts amended charge before Justice James Omotoso of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Bello’s counsel, Abubakar Aliyu had objected to the reading of the amended charge on the ground that the anti-graft agency had failed to comply with Section 218 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

He said that a copy of the amended charge was never served on them but the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo asked the court to reject the arguments of the defendant, adding that the court had on its own endorsed the amendment.

READ ALSO: EFCC arraigns three former bankers, one other for N15.9m fraud in Enugu

Justice Omotoso noted that he had granted an accelerated hearing in the matter and had also ordered that all forms of objections must be kept in abeyance till the address stage and the charge were read to them.

Meanwhile, Justice Omotoso has ordered that Bello and Suleman should continue to enjoy the bail conditions granted them in the previous charges and adjourned the matter to March 28, 2024 for continuation of trial.

In the first count, the former governor and the two suspects were accused of conspiring with each other in September 2015 and converting N80, 246, 470, 089 to their personal use.

They were also alleged to have run foul of section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 because they ought to have reasonably known that the money was a product of fraud and criminal breach of public trust.

In other charges, the suspects were alleged to have concealed several millions of naira with one Rabiu Musa Tafada, a Bureau De Change operator trading under Global Venture in Abuja.

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