EFCC Drags Ex Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello to Court over N84bn Money Laundering

The EFCC has named former Kogi state Governor Yahaya Bello alongside 3 others in an amended charge of money laundering to the tune of 84 billion naira.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has named former Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello as an accomplice of money laundering to the tune of 84 billion naira. 

The commission on Thursday dragged the former governor, alongside his nephew Ali Bello, Dauda Sulaiman and Abdulsalam Hudu, before Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja. 

Dockaysworld recalls that the original charges filled had not included the Governor but have now been amended. 

During the rearraingment of Ali Bello, and a co-defendant for money laundering, the EFCC amended the charges to a 17-count charge of money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to tune of N84, 062,406,089.88 (Eighty-four Billion, Sixty-two Million, Four Hundred and Six Thousand, Eighty-nine Naira, Eighty-eight Kobo).

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The commission had earlier amended the charges on February 5, 2024 and filed it accordingly but on thursday, prosecution counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, prayed that the new charges be read to the defendants for their pleas. 

The amended charges named the former Governor, effectively including him in the trial.

The judge granted the prayer for the charges to be read, overruling objections from A.M Aliyu SAN, and Olusegun Joolawo SAN, counsels to Ali Bello and Suleiman, first and second defendants.

Despite the new development, the agency is yet to officially charge Bello as a defendant in the matter. 

In Count 1 of the amended charges, the only count that features the name of former Governor Bello, the EFCC accused him of conspiring with Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdusalam Hudu in September 2015 to convert over N80 billion belonging to Kogi State to their personal use. EFCC also said in the count that the former governor and Mr Hudu remained at large.

Concerns have been raised about the timeline as the Governor did not come into office until 27th January, 2016. 

The count, reads:

“That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, Yahaya Adoza Bello (still at large) and Abdulsalam Hudu (still at large), sometime in September 2015 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N80,246,470,089.88 (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty-six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Eighty-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(b) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended.”

Kogi Government Reacts

The Kogi State Government has reacted to the development, stating that the former Governor is innocent. 

In a statement on Friday, Kingsley Fanwo, Kogi commissioner for information and communications, said the former governor is squeaky clean.

The chief of staff to Usman Ododo, current governor of the state, Alli, is one of those accused in in the 17-count amended charge.

Fanwo, describe the news as persecution aimed at maligning Bello’s reputation. 

The statement reads: 

“As a subnational in the Nigerian nationhood, we wish to express our utmost respect for agencies set up to perform specific functions towards the greatness of Nigeria. The desperation of the EFCC to hastily and for glaring political reasons, hound the immediate past Governor on their corruption list is unfortunate and speaks volume on how we reward altruistic leadership in our nation. For the records, we wish to make it clear that Kogi’s funds are not missing and that the EFCC is trying so hard to find what is not missing. We therefore call on the EFCC to desist from mentioning the name of Kogi State in its ongoing persecution, orchestrated by some political actors in and around the Presidency bent on destroying the image of Alh. Yahaya Bello and Kogi State.

“The amended charges in which the name of the former Governor was mentioned are false, frivolous, fictitious and far from the truth. They are cooked-up charges that signpost their desperation to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

“The intention was to sensationalize the whole scenario and promote a media war against the former Governor and other officials of Government.”



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