Monday 13 February 2023

Gov. Yahaya Bello’s nephew, others returned to prison after arraignment on N3bn fraud


A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday fixed February 14 for ruling on a bail application filed by Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello’s nephew, Ali Bello, in a N3 billion money laundering trial.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed February 14 for the ruling following a mix-up in the filing of the court process by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency had last Friday filed a counter-affidavit to Bello’s bail request, but the judge was yet to get the court papers as of Monday when the matter came up.

 At Monday’s proceedings, Ahmed Raji, the defence lawyer, acknowledged receipt of the prosecution’s objection to his client’s bail request.

Raji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), sought a speedy hearing of the bail application, prompting the judge to adjourn the suit till February 14.

The prosecuting lawyer, Kabiru Hussain said the counter-affidavit was mistakenly taken to a different court instead of Justice Egwuatu’s court.

EFCC had on February 8, arraigned Bello alongside Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege and Iyada Sadat for allegedly misappropriating N3,081,804,654.00 (Three Billion, Eighty-One Million, Eight Hundred and Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty-Four Nair).

But the EFCC claims the Governor’s wife, Rashida Bello, who was fingered in the allegations has been on the run.

When the defendants were arraigned last Wednesday, they pleaded not guilty.

Subsequently, the judge remanded them in prison.

The prosecuting lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had prayed the court to give a date for the trial of the defendants.

But Ahmed Raji, SAN, urged the court to admit his clients to bail pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

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