Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded Ali Bello, nephew of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello over N3.081 billion fraud allegation.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned Ali Bello who was arraigned before Justice Egwuatu alongside Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege, Iyada Sadat, Rashida Bello (at large) on 18 counts bordering on criminal misappropriation of funds and money laundering to the tune of N3.081 billion.
The EFCC in a statement noted that Bello, Adaudu, Adabenege, Sadat and Rashida (at large) sometime in June 2020 in Abuja procured E-Traders International Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N3.081 billion which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity.
Similarly, the anti-graft agency said that the defendants sometime in November 2021 in Abuja procured E-Traders International Limited to transfer the aggregate sum of $570,330 to account number no: 426-6644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to with: criminal misappropriation, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
When arraigned before the Federal High Court on Wednesday, the defendants pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges preferred against them, hence, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), urged the court to give a trial date to enable the prosecution to prove its case.
But the defence counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), prayed the court to grant Bello bail pending the hearing and determination of the case.
However, Justice Egwuatu ordered that the defendants should be remanded in a correctional centre pending the determination of the bail application. He subsequently adjourned the case till February 13, 2023.
SaharaReporters on December 15, 2022 reported that Bello and one Dauda Sulaiman alongside one Abdulsalami Hudu, Cashier of Kogi State House Administration (now at large) were remanded in prison by Justice James Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
They were arraigned before the court by the EFCC on 10 counts of misappropriation and money laundering amounting to the sum of N10.2 billion.
Bello and Sulaiman were accused of fraudulently withdrawing a sum of N10, 270,556,800 from the Kogi State treasury, which they delivered to a Bureau de Change operator, Rabiu Tafada in Abuja to keep or change to foreign currencies for personal gains.
One of the charges read: “That you, ALI BELLO, DAUDA SULEIMAN AND ABDULSALAMI HUDU (NOW AT LARGE)between January and December, 2021, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court procured RABIU USMAN TAFADA to take possession of the total sum of N5,865,756,800 (Five Billion, Eight Hundred and Sixty Five Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Six Thousand, Eight Hundred Naira), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation from the treasury of Kogi State and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18 (c), 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”