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EFCC plans to arraign Yahaya Bello today, furious at obstruction of his arrest 

EFCC plans to arraign Yahaya Bello today, furious at obstruction of his arrest 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had planned to arraign a former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Adoza Bello, before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday, April 18, 2024.

But it’s not clear if the arraignment will take place as planned, given Bello’s dramatic escape from arrest on Wednesday in Abuja.

He was to be arraigned before Justice Emeka Nwite alongside three other suspects, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu on 19- count charges bordering on money laundering to the tune 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).

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Bello’s arraignment is coming on the heels of a warrant of arrest and enrolment order granted the EFCC by the court on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

The trio are to face 19 counts of alleged fraud in a charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 filed on March 6, 2024, by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr. Kemi Pinheiro.

Pinheiro and two other SANs – Jubrin Okutepa and Rotimi Oyedepo – will lead seven other lawyers from the EFCC against the defendants.

Count 1 of the charge reads: “That you, Yahaya Adoza Bello, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, and Abdulsalam Hudu (Still at large), sometime in February, 2016, in Abuja, conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N80,246,470,089.88 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.

Count 2: “That you, Yahaya Adoza Bello, sometime in 2023, in Abuja, indirectly procured one Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu (still at large) to use the sum of N950,000,000.00 for the acquisition a property lying, being and situate at No. 35 Danube Street, Maitama District, Abuja, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18 (c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

Count 3: That you, Yahaya Adoza Bello, sometime in February, 2021 in Abuja, indirectly procured one Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu (still at large) to use the sum of N100,000,000.00 for the acquisition a property lying, being and situate at No. 1160, within Cadastral Zone C03, Gwarimpa II District, Abuja, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

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Count 4 “That you, Yahaya Adoza Bello, sometime between 2018 to 2020, indirectly procured one Yakubu Siyaka Adegbenga, Iyadi Sadat and Abba Adaudu to use the sum of N920,000,000.00, for the acquisition a property lying, being and situate at No.2 Justice Chukwudifu Oputa Street, Asokoro, Abuja, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

Count 5: “That you, Yahaya Adoza Bello, sometime in 2022, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court indirectly procured one Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, Rabiu Musa Tafada Global Ventures and Abdulsalam Hudu (still at large) to use the sum of N170,000,000.00 for the acquisition of a property lying, being and situate at block D Manzini Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

In count 18, Bello was accused of procuring a firm to transfer the aggregate sum of US$570,330.00 to an account number 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.”

The last count accused him of indirectly procuring E-Traders International Limited, Aleshua Solutions Services, Whales Oil and Gas, Forza Oil and Gas, Dada Grand Merchant Limited to transfer $556,265 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 Misappropriation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”

An attempt to execute the warrant of arrest against Bello met stiff resistance on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

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The security cordoned the former governor’s residence in Abuja on Wednesday but the current governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo, truncated his predecessor’s arrest and drove him away in his official vehicle.

It’s criminal to obstruct EFCC Operations – EFCC

The EFCC has warned that it will no longer tolerate obstruction of its operations.

This comes after the anti-graft agency failed in its attempt to arrest former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, on Wednesday.

The governor of Kogi State, Usman Ododo, arrived at Bello’s residence and truncated security operatives’ plan to forcefully arrest Bello.

After waiting for hours without being able to arrest Bello, the anti-graft agency reinforced in its bid to forcefully arrest the ex-governor the way a former governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha, was arrested a few years ago.

They were planning to forcefully arrest him before the arrival of Ododo.

Ododo, who drove into Bello’s compound, departed after a while.

However, as he was leaving, reports filtered in that Bello was in his vehicle, forcing security operatives who had been on standby for hours to open fire.

Reacting to the drama that played out, the EFCC, in a statement by its spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, warned that it is a criminal offence to obstruct officers of the Commission from carrying out their lawful duties.

“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.

“The commission, therefore, warns that it will henceforth not tolerate any attempt by any person or organisation to obstruct its operation as such will be met with appropriate punitive actions,” the Commission said.

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