EFCC To Arraign Ex-Governor Bello For N80 Billion Money Laundering
Former Governor Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
EFCC says the scheduled arraignment of former Governor Yahaya Bello “is coming on the heels of a warrant of arrest and enrolment order granted the EFCC by the court on Wednesday, 17 April 2024.”

The arraignment is scheduled to take place before a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Emeka Nwite.

This, according to a statement by the EFCC on Wednesday, “is coming on the heels of a warrant of arrest and enrolment order granted the EFCC by the court on Wednesday, 17 April 2024.”

EFCC operatives laid siege to Mr Bello’s residence in Abuja in a bid to arrest him on Wednesday.
The attempted arrest failed as the EFCC operatives met stiff resistance from police personnel attached to the former governor’s residence. EFCC is finally bringing Mr Bello to trial, accusing him of money laundering involving over N80 billion, after years of beaming searchlight on him and family members.

The commission’s longtime investigations of the former governor had resulted in the N10 billion money laundering charges it instituted against his nephew, Ali Bello, and a co-defendant in 2022.

About a week after Mr. Bello completed his tenure as governor on 27 January, EFCC, on 5 February, amended the pending charges, raising the number of counts from 10 to 17 against the younger Bello and his co-defendant, Dauda Suleiman,

The prosecution named former Governor Bello in one of the newly introduced counts as an accomplice, but not as a defendant.

In the count, the EFCC accused Mr Bello of conspiring with Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, and Abdusalam Hudu to convert over N80 billion belonging to Kogi State to their personal use. The case, which has seen EFCC call witnesses to testify, is before Justice James Omotosho.

But in what appears to be a fresh case, the EFCC filed a charge of 19 counts against Mr Bello.

The case also features the names of the same set of alleged accomplices as the old case.

The alleged offences also hover around the over N80 billion transactions alleged in the old case.

But the commission has now modified the date of the alleged offences to February 2016, which is Mr. Bello’s first month in office as governor, instead of September 2015 as was stated in the old charge.

In the new case, the EFCC accused Mr Bello, his nephew, Ali Bello; Dauda Suleiman, and Abdulsalam Hudu (said to still be at large) of conspiring to convert the total sum of N80 billion (N80,246,470, 088.88) in February 2016.

EFCC alleged in the count that Mr Bello and others “reasonably ought to have known” that the money “forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity” – criminal breach of trust.

EFCC also alleged in another count that Mr Bello, between 26 July 2021 to 6 April 2022 in Abuja aided a firm, E-Traders International Limited, to conceal the aggregate sum of over N3 billion (N3,081,804,654) in account number 1451458080 domiciled in Access Bank Plc.

The commission also said Mr Bello reasonably ought to have known that the money formed part of proceeds of unlawful activity – criminal breach of trust.

EFCC also alleged in another count that Mr Bello, sometime in November 2021 in Abuja, “indirectly procured E-Traders International Limited to transfer the aggregate sum of $570,330 to account number 4266644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America. It also said the money was part of the proceeds of crime, specifically, criminal breach of trust.

However, EFCC explained in the statement by its spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, that its “attempt to execute the warrant of arrest lawfully obtained against Bello met stiff resistance on Wednesday”.

It added: “The security cordon around the former governor’s residence in Abuja was breached by the current Governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo, who ensured that the suspect was spirited away in his official vehicle.

“As a responsible law enforcement agency, the EFCC exercised restraint in the face of the provocation, waiting for his arraignment on Thursday, 18 April 2024.”

The EFCC also warned against obstruction of its officers carrying out their lawful activities.

The commission issued the warning in a separate statement on Wednesday, it would not tolerate “any attempt by any person or organisation to obstruct its operation as such will be met with appropriate punitive actions.”

The statement added: “Section 38(2)(a(b) of the EFCC Establishment Act makes it an offence to prevent officers of the Commission from carrying out their lawful duties. Culprits risk a jail term of not less than five years.

“This warning becomes necessary against the background of the increasing tendency by persons and groups under investigation by the Commission to take the laws into their hands by recruiting thugs to obstruct lawful operations of the EFCC.

“On several occasions, operatives of the Commission have had to exercise utmost restraint in the face of such provocation to avoid a breakdown of law and order. Regrettably, such disposition is being construed as a sign of weakness.”


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