• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Yahaya Bello: Court adjourns to June 27 as lawyers agree on new date

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

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday adjourned the arraignment of Yahaya Bello, former governor of Kogi State, to June 27, in a money laundering case filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This decision came after the counsels for both parties agreed to the new date. The EFCC had initially set the arraignment for June 13 but later requested the change.

During the session, Adeola Adedipe, representing Bello, expressed surprise at the presence of Rotimi Oyedepo for the EFCC, stating that the agreement was for junior counsels to attend and select a new date.

Adedipe mentioned that the lead counsel for the EFCC had communicated the inconvenience of the original date.

“They (EFCC) agreed that junior counsels would be sent to court today to formally pick a date. And the registry can confirm this.

“Kemi Pinhero SAN is the lead counsel, he has been calling us to say today is not convenient,” he said.

Despite the readiness of Bello to attend the court, the EFCC sought an adjournment. Adedipe highlighted that the law allows for such a situation where the defendant’s presence is not mandatory.

“Under 266 ACJA there are instances when defendants don’t need to come and this is one of them. We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It is the prosecuting counsel that approached us, we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide,” Adedipe noted.

Oyedepo, however, claimed unawareness of any such agreement.

Justice Nwite confirmed the adjournment to June 27, with Adedipe assuring Bello’s appearance on the rescheduled date. The judge noted that normally, an out-of-court agreement for a new date should not override a previous undertaken.