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EFCC arraigns ex-Kogi gov, Yahaya Bello on money laundering charges

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Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to arraign the former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Adoza Bello, before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. Alongside him, three other suspects – Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, and Abdulsalam Hudu – will face charges relating to money laundering amounting to N80,246,470,088.

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page on Wednesday, the EFCC disclosed the impending arraignment, highlighting the severity of the charges against the defendants.

The anti-graft agency alleges that the defendants conspired to divert public funds, engaging in activities contrary to the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

Some of the counts include accusations of converting significant sums of money for unlawful activities, aiding in concealing funds, and indirectly facilitating the transfer of funds overseas.

Some of the counts read:

“That you, Yahaya Adoza Bello, Ali Bello, Dauda Suliman, and Abdulsalam Hudu( Still at large), sometime, in February, 2016, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N80, 246,470, 088.88 (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty Six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand and Eight Nine Naira, Eighty Eight Kobo), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit, criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended”.

“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.

“That you Yahaya Adoza Bello sometime in November 2021 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court indirectly procured E-Traders international Limited to transfer the aggregate sum of $570,330.00 (Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty Dollars) to account number 4266644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America 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 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15( 3) of the same Act.”

The arraignment follows a warrant of arrest and enrollment order granted by Justice Emeka Nwite earlier in the day.

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The EFCC had sought the court’s intervention to expedite Bello’s apprehension and subsequent trial, arguing the urgency of the matter.

Justice Nwite, convinced by the EFCC’s submissions, ordered the immediate arrest of the former governor and scheduled the arraignment for April 18, 2024.

However, the EFCC faced resistance in executing the warrant of arrest, with the current Governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo, reportedly aiding Bello’s escape from his residence. Despite this, the EFCC reiterated its commitment to ensuring that justice prevails.

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The planned arraignment occurs amidst ongoing trials involving Bello’s nephew and others for similar fraudulent activities. Bello himself has been implicated in some of the counts.

Notably, a state high court in Kogi had previously restrained the EFCC from arresting or prosecuting Bello, citing jurisdictional issues. However, the Federal High Court’s decision supersedes this, setting the stage for the former governor’s legal battle.

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As the proceedings unfold, the EFCC emphasizes that no individual, regardless of their status, is above the law. They vow to pursue justice relentlessly, upholding the rule of law and accountability.

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