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EFCC slams Bello, ex Kogi gov, N100bn fraud charges

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has included Yahaya Bello, the former Governor of Kogi State in its amended corruption charges, alleging involvement in a suspected N100 billion fraud case.

The charges also implicated Alli Bello, the Chief of Staff to the current Governor of Kogi State and another individual, Daudu Suleiman.

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The charges stem from an alleged diversion of approximately N100 billion from the State Government’s coffers in September 2015, implicating the immediate past governor, Yahaya Bello, months prior to assuming office.

Among the charges laid against them, the trio, Bello, the former Governor; Alli Bello, and Dauda Suleiman stand accused of conspiring to convert a staggering N80,246,470,089 to personal use in September 2015.

Additionally, they face allegations of violating Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as they purportedly should have been aware that the funds were acquired through fraudulent means and breach of public trust.

Furthermore, Alli Bello and Dauda Suleiman are charged with concealing substantial sum of money with Rabiu Musa Tafada, a Bureau De Change (BDC) operator trading under Global Venture in Abuja, as outlined in several counts of the indictment.

Both Alli Bello and Dauda Suleman entered pleas of not guilty to the 17-count amended charge presented before James Omotoso, Justice of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

However, the legal proceedings were not without contention. Alli Bello’s legal representative, Abubakar Aliyu, raised objections to the reading of the amended charge, citing the EFCC’s failure to comply with Section 218 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, as they had not received a copy of the amendment.

In response, Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC counsel urged the Court to dismiss the defense’s arguments, asserting that the Court had autonomously endorsed the amendment.

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Omotoso emphasized his commitment to expediting the trial and ordered that objections be deferred until the address stage, maintaining that the charge must be formally read to the defendants.

Omotoso, however upheld the bail conditions previously granted to Alli Bello and Dauda Suleiman.