By Lukman Olabiyi
Justice James Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, remanded Aliyu Bello, a nephew to Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and one Dauda Sulaiman in prison pending the fulfilment of their bail conditions
They were remanded upon arraignment alongside one Abdulsalami Hudu, Cahier of Kogi State House Administration ( now at large) on a 10-count charge of misappropriation and money laundering
Bello and Sulaiman are accused of fraudulently withdrawing a sum of N10, 270,556,800 (Ten Billion, Two Hundred and Seventy Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-six Thousand Eight Hundred Naira), 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 reads: “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”.
Another count reads: “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 aided RABIU USMAN TAFADA to retain the total sum of N2,509,650,000.00 (Two Billion Five Hundred and Nine Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand), 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”.
They however pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against them by the EFCC.
In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo SAN, asked the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial.
Counsel to the second and third defendants, Abdulwahab Mohammed SAN, informed the court of his application for the bail of the defendants.
Justice Omotosho admitted the defendants to bail in the sum One Billion Naira each and two sureties who are to provide a bond of N2 billion each and have a landed property valued at N500 million. The title of the properties shall be registered with the chief registrar of the Court.
Each of the sureties and the defendants shall submit their bank statements and international passports to the chief registrar of the Court.
The sureties must also produce an affidavit of means and evidence of tax clearance for at least 3 years.
The judge thereafter sent the defendants to Kuje Correctional centre, Abuja pending the fulfillment of their bail conditions and adjourned the matter till February 6, 2023 for hearing.