EFCC Lists Ex-Gov. Yahaya Bello In N100bn Money Laundering Charge Against Kogi CoS

Yahaya Bello

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has named Yahaya Bello, former Kogi State Governor, in an amended charge filed against Alli Bello, Chief of Staff (CoS) to Governor Usman Ododo.

Alli and one Daudu Suleiman are the two defendants in the 17-count amended charge.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the suspects diverted about N100 billion belonging to the State government in September 2015, about four months before Bello assumed office as governor.

Former Governor represented by his lawyer, A.M. Aliyu, objected to the reading of the charge on the grounds that the EFCC failed to comply with Section 218 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

The Senior Advocate submitted that a copy of the amended charges was not served on his client as required by the provisions of ACJA.

But Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC’s lawyer, asked the court to reject the arguments of the defendant, adding that the court had on its own endorsed the amendment of the charge.

Kolawole Omotoso, the Presiding Judge, however agreed that he had on the last adjournment granted accelerated hearing in the matter and had also ordered that all objections must be kept in abeyance till the final address stage.

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The Judge then directed the court registrar to read the amended charges.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts in the amended charge.

In the first count, the defendants were said to have conspired with the former governor in September 2015 to convert N80,246,470,089 belonging to the state government for their personal use.

In other charges, Alli Bello and Dauda Suleiman were alleged to have concealed several millions of naira with one Rabiu Musa Tafada, a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator trading under Global Venture in Abuja.

Bello’s lawyer then applied that one of the EFCC witnesses, Edward Fanada, be recalled for fresh cross-examination in view of the contents of the amended charges.

The request was granted by Justice Omotoso due to no opposition from the EFCC lawyer.

Meanwhile, the judge admitted Alli Bello and Dauda Suleman to a bail condition earlier granted in the previous charges.

He adjourned the case till March 20 and March 21 for trial.