While over 60% of Nigerians wallow in penury, billions of naira and dollars wander from one office to another. While Nigeria goes on with issues of electricity and network challenges, the former governor of Kogi State and the trio were prosecuted by the EFCC on a 17-count charge of money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N84bn.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission made a tweet on X spelling the first count charge thus: “That you, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, Yahaya Adoza Bello (still at large), and Abdusalam 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 sun 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.

On March 14, the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, presided over by Justice James Omotosho, with Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and A. M. Aliyu, SAN, and Olusegun Joolawo, SAN, as prosecuting and defending counsels, respectively, tried the case. Albeit, Rotimi, the prosecuting counsel, states that he filed the case on February 5, 2024, when the former Governor Yahaya was at large alongside Hudu, while Ali Bello and Suleiman pleaded not guilty.

While the ongoing case is linked to the purchase of a property worth N950,000,000 (nine hundred and fifty million naira), as testified by the witnesses, the judge adjourned the case to March 28, 2024, as a result of legal technicalities. This time, would the accused at large appear in court, and would they plead guilty or not guilty?


By Chidimma NWAFOR

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