Kogi: EFCC re-arraigns Ododo’s Chief of Staff, indicts ex-gov Bello in N10b fraud
Connect with us


Kogi: EFCC re-arraigns Ododo’s Chief of Staff, indicts ex-gov Bello in N10b fraud



The Chief of Staff to Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State, Ali Bello, was on Thursday re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an amended 17-count fraud charge.

The defendant, who is a nephew of the immediate past governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, was docked before the Federal High Court in Abuja over his alleged complicity in the diversion of over N10billion from the state’s treasury.

Bello is facing trial alongside his alleged accomplice, Dauda Sulaiman, while the anti-graft agency told the court that others involved in the alleged fraud and money laundering, including one Abdulsalami Hudu, the Cashier of Kogi State House Administration, are currently at large.

Equally listed to be at large in the amended charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022, was the former governor of the state, Yahaya Bello.

The two defendants, however pleaded not guilty to the charge after it was read to them in the open court.

They, had, through their lawyer, Mr. A.M. Aliyu, (SAN) queried the competence of the amended charge.

The defendants argued that the EFCC failed to comply with the provision of section 218 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, by not serving the amended charge on them before they were re-arraigned.

Read also: Kidnappers demand N1b for kidnapped Kaduna students, vow to kill them in 20 days

However, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, persuaded the court to dismiss the defendants’ contention which he described as baseless, noting that the trial court itself endorsed the amendment.

In his short ruling, Justice James Omotosho okayed accelerated hearing of the case, stressing that all forms of objections must be kept in abeyance till the final address stage of the proceedings.

The defendants were in count one of the amended charge, alleged to had in September 2015, conspired with former governor Bello and converted N80, 246, 470, 089 to their personal use.

The EFCC maintained that their action was contrary to section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, adding that they ought to have reasonably known that the money was a product of fraud and criminal breach of public trust.

Likewise, Alli Bello and Suleman 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.

Shortly after the defendants entered their plea, the court allowed them to go home on terms of the bail it earlier granted to them.

The defence counsel thereafter applied for the court to recall one of the witnesses that had previously testified for the EFCC in the matter, Edward Fanada.

The defendants’ lawyer said there was need for the witness to be cross examined again, in view of contents of the amended charge.

Following a no objection stance by counsel to the EFCC, Justice Omotosho granted the application.


Join the conversation


Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism

Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.

As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.

Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

Donate Now

Exit mobile version