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Court to hear EFCC appeal against Yahaya Bello’s arrest today

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja Judicial division will on Monday (today) hear the appeal lodged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against the order of a Kogi State High Court, which restrained the anti-graft agency from arresting the immediate-past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

According to the PUNCH, the Kogi court, in a ruling on February 9, 2024, restrained the EFCC from “inviting, arresting, detaining, prosecuting” Bello, pending the determination of a fundamental rights suit he filed before the court.

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EFCC is seeking to prosecute the ex-governor on 19 counts bordering on money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds to N80.2bn.

The anti-graft agency, determined to get Bello to face the law for his alleged crime, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja last Wednesday to obtain an arrest warrant. The Federal High Court in Kogi was delivering judgment on Bello’s fundamental human rights suit.

With the arrest warrant, EFCC visited Bello’s Abuja home with hopes to get him arrested but failed.

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This resulted in the inability of the former governor to be arraigned the next day in court, which led Justice Nwite to adjourn for arraignment and ruling till Tuesday, April 23.

Although Bello was absent to take his plea, his team of lawyers, led by Mr. Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN), informed the court of the matter before the appeal court.

Mohammed told the court that it was wrong for the EFCC to apply for an arrest warrant against Bello when the same matter was already before the appeal court.

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The EFCC counsel, Mr Kemi Pinehero, argued that the court could proceed with the trial.

He faulted the lower court’s order, describing it as an obstruction.

“The orders granted ex parte on the 9th of February 2024 constitute a clog in the progress of the appellant/applicant’s performance of its statutory functions and duties under the EFCC Act 2004,” the EFCC said.

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