HomeFraudGov Ododo's Chief of Staff, Bello re-arraigned over alleged fraud

Gov Ododo’s Chief of Staff, Bello re-arraigned over alleged fraud

The Chief of Staff to Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State, Ali Bello, has been re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCCn 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 N10 billion 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.

Meanwhile, the two defendants 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.

According to the defendants, 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.

However, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, persuaded the court to dismiss the defendants’ contention which he described as baseless.

Oyedepo, SAN, noted that the trial court itself endorsed the amendment.

In his short ruling, Justice James Omotosho okayed an 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 have in September 2015, conspired with former governor Bello and converted N80, 246, 470, 089 to their personal use.

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.

Thereafter, the defence counsel, Aliyu, SAN, applied for the court to recall one of the witnesses who had previously testified for the EFCC in the matter, Edward Fanada

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

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

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments