Kogi ex-gov, three others deny N84bn ‘fraud’

The immediate past governor of Kagi State, Yahaya Adoza Bello with his nephew, Ali Bello, Dauda Sulaiman and Abdulsalam Hudu on Thursday March 2024, pleaded not to N84 billion billion fraud.

The amended 17-count money laundering offences was preferred against the quartet by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The accused denied the committing the alleged fraud was read to them, when they were arranged before Justice James Omotosho of
the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja.

But, ex-Governor Yahaya Bello and Hudu are still at large, while Ali Bello and Suleiman, first and second ex-Governor Yahaya Bello and Hudu are still at large, Ali Bello and Suleiman, first and second defendants respectively, were present in court present on Thursday March 14.

EFCC — the Prosecution cited breach of trust and misappropriation of fund to tune of N84, 062,406,089.88 (Eighty-four Billion, Sixty-two Million, Four Hundred and Six Thousand, Eighty-nine Naira, Eighty-eight Kobo) in the amended charge.

Proceedings of the case published on EFCC website, said its Prosecution Counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, had informed the court of an application before it for the amendment of the charges against the defendants, dated February 5, 2024, and filed the same day.

In a bid to make way for Yahaya Bello’s inclusion in the trial, Oyedepo prayed that the amended charges be read to the defendants for them to take their pleas.

Justice Omotosho granted the prayer, overruling objections from A.M Aliyu SAN, and Olusegun Joolawo SAN, counsels to Ali Bello and Suleiman, first and second defendants.

In continuation of the trial, Oyedepo invited fourth Prosecution Witness, PW4, Yakubu Gana, Counsel to the property owner and seller of a property located in Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja, which Ali Bello and Suleiman allegedly bought at the cost of N950 million on behalf of ex-governor Yahaya Bello through their lawyer, Ramalan Jibril Abdullahi.

Gana told the court that, “We negotiated and agreed on the sum of N950million. Their lawyer, Ramalan Abdullahi, said his clients would prefer to pay in cash and in dollars.

“I had to call my client to inform him because he was not in the country at that time. My client cautioned me whether I knew the buyers, and I answered I knew their lawyer way back in secondary school.

“The lawyer and the clients invited me into their office, a bureau de change office at Zone 4, adjacent to Sheraton, now Abuja Continental Hotel.

“They then showed me dollars in ‘Ghana must go,’ but the dollars in ‘Ghana must go’ was not up to that N950million. They said they would make it up by bringing some dollars to make it to N950million.

“The transaction took us almost two weeks, and the lawyer invited me to the same BDC office for confirmation, then the money was completed in dollar equivalent,” he said.

In his testimony as fifth prosecution witness, Abdullahi told the court that though he acted as a go-between in the purchase of the property.

He revealed that his major assignment was to carry out due diligence on the said property which paved the way for its purchase by Ali Bello and Suleiman, his clients.

Oyedepo requested for the property’s title documents to enable him to tender them in evidence.

But, Justice Omotosho ordered him to formally apply to the defendants and thereafter adjourned the matter to March 28, 2024 for continuation of trial.

This was after taken Count one of the charges that reads: “That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, Yahaya Adoza Bello (still at large) and Abdulsalam Hudu (still at large), sometime in September, 2015 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to convert the total sum of N80,246,470,089.88 (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty-six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Eighty-nine Naira, Eighty-eight Kobo), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(b) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended.”

TheNewspad, formerly opposed Yahaya Bello’s application on order to vacate 14 property values at N400 million by EFCC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.