Abuja Court sends Kogi Gov’s nephew to prison over alleged N10.3b fraud
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the remand of Ali Bello, a nephew to Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello in Kuje prison, Abuja.
Justice James Kolawole Omotosho in a ruling on Thursday, ordered that Bello and his co-defendant, Dauda Sulaiman, should remain in prison pending the fulfilment of their bail conditions.
According to a statement by the spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren, Justice Omotosho gave the order shortly after they pleaded not guilty to a 10-count charge in which the two were accused of misappropriating and laundering N10, 270,556,800 allegedly taken from the treasury of the Kogi State Government.
IsL source, Nation Newspaper reports that Bello and Sulaiman are alleged to have worked with the Cahier of Kogi State House Administration, Abdulsalami Hudu, (now at large) to withdraw the N10, 270,556,800 from the Kogi State treasury, which they allegedly delivered to a Bureau de Change operator, Rabiu Tafada in Abuja to keep or change to foreign currencies for personal gains.
A count in the charge reads: “That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalami Hudu (now at large) between January and December, 2021, in Abuja procured Rabiu Usman Tafada to take possession of the total sum of N5,865,756,800 (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.”
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Another count reads: “That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalami Hudu (now at large) between January and December 2021, in Abuja aided Rabiu Usman Tafada to retain the total sum of N2,509,650,000.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity to wit: Criminal Misappropriation from the treasury of Kogi State Government and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18 (a) 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
Following the not guilty plea by the defendants, lawyer to the prosecution, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) asked the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial.
Defence lawyer, Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN) informed the court about the bail application he filed for his clients, which he later moved.
Ruling, Justice Omotosho admitted each of the defendants to bail at N1billion, with two sureties, who must each endorse a bond of N2billion and have a landed property valued at N500 million.
The judge said the title of the properties shall be registered with the chief registrar of the court.
The judge added that each of the sureties and the defendants shall submit their bank statements and international passports to the chief registrar of the court.
The sureties, the judge added, must also produce an affidavit of means and evidence of tax clearance for at least 3 years.
Justice Omotosho then adjourned till February 6, 2023 for the commencement of trial.