N80.2bn fraud’: Yahaya Bello seeks transfer of trial to Lokoja

Former Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, Thursday, asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, to transfer his alleged N80. 2billion money laundering trial to Lokoja.

Bello said he preferred to be arraigned in Lokoja, being the place the alleged money laundering offence was committed.

At the resumed sitting, Bello, represented by his counsel, Adeola Adedipe, SAN, informed Justice Emeka Nwite that a letter requesting for the transfer of the trial had already been delivered to the chief judge for his administrative decision.

Specifically, Adedipe said the request for Lokoja was due to the fact that the Federal High Court has territorial jurisdiction to hear the matter in Lokoja.

“Although the letter requesting for transfer of this matter to Lokoja, was written by Yahaya Bello’s lead counsel, Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, I am however under obligation to draw the attention of this honourable court to the issue,” Adedipe said.

Adedipe confirmed that prosecution had been notified and their opinion had been sought via a letter dated 14th June, 2024 from the chief judge’s office.

“You will find attached the copy of a letter by Counsel to the Defendant on the above subject matter, dated 10th June, 2024.

“I am directed by His Lordship, the Honourable, the Chief Judge, to forward the letter to you for your response within 6 (six) days of receipt,” the letter reads in part.

However, the request for transfer was vehemently opposed by the EFCC lead counsel, Dr Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, who described the request as an attempt to frustrate the trial.

The EFCC lawyer pleaded with Justice Nwite to hold Adeola Adedipe, SAN, and Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, responsible for their inability to produce their client in court, despite the undertakings they made.

The EFCC lawyer also requested that the two SANs be cited for contempt of court.

The court has fixed July 17, for arraignment of the former Governor and ruling on the request of EFCC to cite the SANs for contempt.

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