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Confusion in court as Kogi officials and Bello dispute ₦100 billion fraud claims.

The former governor, Yahaya Bello, was not present during the re-arraignment, as he was not a defendant in the original suit. His counsel, A.M. Aliyu, SAN, objected to the reading of the amended charges to his client, stating that Bello was not involved in the alleged diversion of funds. The EFCC had initially alleged that the suspects diverted ₦100 billion belonging to the state government in September 2015, months before Bello took office. However, the amended charge now states that the funds were diverted in April 2018, during Bello’s tenure. Bello has denied any involvement in the alleged fraud and has maintained his innocence.


The defendant’s objection was based on the fact that the anti-graft agency did not comply with Section 218 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015. According to their senior lawyer, they were not served a copy of the amended charges as required by the provisions of ACJA. However, the EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, argued that the court should reject the defendant’s arguments as the court had already endorsed the amendment. In a short ruling, Justice Omotoso reminded both parties that he had granted accelerated hearing and that all objections should be kept in abeyance until the address stage.

The defendants were then given the opportunity to enter their plea, with Ali Bello and Dauda Suleman both pleading not guilty to all 17 counts of fraud. The first count specifically accused the defendants, alongside former Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello, of conspiring to convert ₦80,246,470, 089 to their personal use in September 2015. The judge then directed the court registrar to read the amended charges, giving the defendants a clear understanding of the allegations against them.

The defendants are facing charges of money laundering under Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, which states that they should have known that the money was obtained through fraudulent and criminal means. Additionally, Alli Bello and Dauda Suleman are accused of hiding large sums of money with Rabiu Musa Tafada, a Bureau De Change operator in Abuja, under the business name Global Venture. These actions are in violation of the law and the defendants must face consequences for their alleged involvement in money laundering.

The defense counsel, Aliyu, representing Alli Bello in court, made a request to have one of the EFCC’s witnesses, Edward Fanada, called back for further questioning in light of the new charges that were brought forth. This request was granted by Justice Omotoso, as the EFCC lawyer did not object. In the meantime, the judge allowed Alli Bello and Dauda Suleman to remain on bail, which had been granted for the previous charges. The case was adjourned until March 20 and March 21 for the continuation of the trial.

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