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Bello vs EFCC: Request to transfer case to Lokoja should be presented in open court – CJ

Money laundering: Yahaya Bello seeks to stall EFCC trial, cites pending appeal

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court has directed that former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello’s request to transfer his money laundering case, brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to Kogi State should be presented in open court.

In a letter addressed to Abdulwahab Muhammed and Musa Yakubu, Bello’s counsels, the chief judge highlighted the existence of a pending appeal in the case of Yahaya Adoza Bello vs. FRN.

The appeal included a request for the case to be reassigned by the chief judge. Given this pending appeal, the chief judge emphasised that taking any step that might pre-empt the outcome of the appeal would be improper.

The letter, signed by Joshua Ibrahim AJI, special assistant to the chief judge, states: “There is documentary evidence of a pending appeal in the case Yahaya Adoza Bello Vs FRN filed on 17/05/2024 wherein the defendant as Appellant has sought a consequential order remitting the case to the Chief Judge for reassignment. It is not proper to take any step that will be tantamount to pre-empting the outcome of the Appeal.

“The main issue raised is jurisdictional in nature and will be more appropriately decided by the court. The matter should therefore be presented in open court,” the CJ stated.

The chief judge also noted that the primary allegation involves the conversion of Kogi State funds to purchase properties in Abuja, indicating that the case could be filed in either Abuja or Lokoja.

The letter referenced two ongoing cases: FHC/ABJ/CR/550/22 FRN vs. Ali Bello and another and FRN vs. Ali Bello and 3 others, where similar transfer requests were made but were refused by the lower court.