• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Yahaya Bello: Appeal Court fails to hear EFCC’s suit against order restraining ex-governor’s arrest

Bello sacks Kogi Health commissioner

The Court of Appeal on Monday failed to hear the appeal brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against an interim order from the Kogi State High Court, restraining the commission from arresting, detaining, harassing, or prosecuting Yahaya Bello, pending the determination of his fundamental human rights enforcement motion.

The siege on Bello’s residence by EFCC operatives last Wednesday sparked heated debates, especially considering the existing restraining order against such actions, which had not been lifted at the time of the siege.

The EFCC had appealed the order on March 11, 2024, and sought a stay of execution in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission v. Alhaji Yahaya Bello. Although the Court of Appeal did not grant the stay of execution, it scheduled the hearing for Monday, April 22.

However, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, the Kogi High Court delivered its substantive judgment in the matter. It directed the commission to seek the leave of a superior court before taking further steps against Bello.

When EFCC laid siege to Bello’s Abuja residence around 8 am, the interim injunction restraining them from arresting or harassing him was still in force.

Justice Isa Abdullahi had, in his latest verdict, held: “Looking at the Orders sought by the applicant (Yahaya Bello), I am inclined to grant them subject to some alterations which in my view will meet the justice of this case, in the following terms.

1. “An Order is hereby granted enforcing the Fundamental Rights of the applicant to liberty and freedom of movement and fair hearing, by restraining the Respondent (EFCC) by themselves, their agents, servants or privies from continuing to harass, threaten to arrest or detain or in any manner whatsoever arresting, detaining or prosecuting the Applicant on the basis of the criminal Charges now pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja to wit; Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/550/2022 between FRN v. Ali Bello & Anor, without prejudice to the power of the said Federal High Court, to make any Order as it may deem just in the determination of the rights of the Applicant and the Respondent as may be submitted to her for consideration and determination.

2. “An Order is hereby granted directing the Respondent to bring before the said Federal High Court, or any such appropriate Court, such criminal Charge, allegation or Complaint in respect whereof the Applicant is reasonably believed by the Respondent to have committed any offence subject of its jurisdiction, provided that the Respondent shall not invite, arrest or detain the Applicant on account of a reasonable belief that the Applicant has committed any financial crime, without first obtaining the leave of a superior Court of Record, especially haven regard to the antecedents of the Respondent in the manner it has managed its engagements with the Applicant.”