Gov.Yahaya Bello’s Nephew, Others Docked Over Alleged N3bn Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Ali Bello, identified as a nephew to the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello.

Mr Bello was arraigned alongside two others at an Abuja Federal High Court, on 18 charges of money laundering and misappropriation of about N3 billion, according to a statement by EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, today. 

The two other co-defendants are: Abba Adauda, Yakubu Adabenege, and Iyada Sadat. EFCC also said another suspect, Rashida Bello, was on the run.

Mr Bello and others pleaded not guilty to the 18 charges, which were said to contravened sections 18(a), 15(20)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

According to the EFCC, the defendants committed the crime in 2020.

In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urged the court to give a trial date to enable the prosecution to prove its case.

However, defence counsel, Ahmed Raji, also a SAN, prayed the court to grant his client bail pending the hearing and determination of the case.

The judge, Obiora Egwuatu, adjourned the case till 13 February and ordered that the defendants be remanded in a Correctional Centre pending the determination of the bail application.

The EFCC had in December last year, in a separate charge, arraigned Mr Bello alongside another defendant before James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The other defendant was Dauda Sulaiman. Another defendant in the case, Abdulsalami Hudu, who was said to be a cashier of the Kogi State House Administration, was said to be at large.

They were arraigned on 10 charges of misappropriation and money laundering to the tune of N10 billion fraud.

However parts of the new charges against the defendants read: “That you, Ali Bello, Abba Adaudu, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege, Iyada Sadat, Rashida Bello (at large) sometime in June, 2020 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court procured E-Traders International Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N3, 081, 804, 654. 00 (Three Billion, Eighty One Million, Eight Hundred and Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty Four Naira) which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18(a), 15(20)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act”.

“That you, Ali Bello, Abba Adaudu, Rashida Bello (at large) sometime in November, 2021 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court procured E-Traders International Limited to transfer the aggregate sum of $570, 330 (Five Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty United States Dollars) to account number no; 426-6644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to with: criminal misappropriation, and you 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.”