• Monday, April 15, 2024
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FRN vs Ali Bello: Trial delayed as co-defendant challenges EFCC’s amended charges

EFCC warns schools, malls against charging in dollars

Proceedings in the trial of the case marked FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022: FRN v. Ali Bello & Anor were halted on Thursday at the Federal High Court in Abuja as concerns over the competence of the charges, including the amended ones presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), arose.

Suleiman Daudu, the co-defendant of Ali Bello, represented by his counsel and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Nureni Jimoh, raised objections against the fresh charges brought by the EFCC. Daudu’s objections led to the trial’s suspension.

“Although the amended charges have not been read to them for their plea to be taken afresh, the co-defendant is praying the court to reject it outrightly,” stated Jimoh during the proceedings.

However, Justice J. K Omotosho, presiding over the case, couldn’t entertain the motion challenging the amended charges due to flaws in the motion. Consequently, the court ordered the re-filing of the motion, scheduling it to be heard on February 23.

Justice Omotoso emphasised his commitment to resolve the motion before proceeding with the trial, underscoring the importance of due process in the proceedings.

In response to the development, Nureni Jimoh, SAN, confirmed the filing of an application challenging EFCC’s amended charge. On the other hand, the prosecutor, Oyedepo Rotimi, SAN, stated he had yet to receive the application.

Moreover, the 2nd defendant’s counsel objected to the presence of Yakubu Haruna, the prosecution’s 4th witness, asserting that his name was not listed on the provided witness list.

In defense, Rotimi clarified that he had filed the amended charge against the defendants, including a comprehensive list of intended witnesses.

Ali Bello and Dauda Suleiman face a 10-count criminal charge, primarily related to money laundering, filed against them by the EFCC.

The trial’s next hearing is scheduled for February 23, where the motion and objections regarding the amended charges will be heard, shaping the trajectory of the case.