Court takes Decision on Former Kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello’s Attempt to Move N80bn Fraud Case to Kogi

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Court takes Decision on Former Kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello’s Attempt to Move N80bn Fraud Case to Kogi

 

By Onozure Dania and Deborah Musa

Yahaya Bello

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, has refused to transfer the N80.2 billion fraud trial of former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello from Abuja to Kogi State.

 

In a letter dated July 2 and signed by his Special Assistant, Joshua Aji, Justice Tsoho agreed with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that Bello’s trial should remain in Abuja.

 

Bello’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), had requested on June 27 that the case be moved to Kogi State, citing a letter submitted to the Chief Judge on June 10. Adedipe argued that Kogi State had territorial jurisdiction over the matter.

 

However, the EFCC’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), opposed the transfer request, insisting that Bello should have appeared in court for his arraignment.

 

In his response, the Chief Judge stated that the allegations involved the transfer of funds from Kogi State to Abuja for the purchase of property through acts of concealment. Given that the alleged offenses were committed in both locations, the trial could legally proceed in either Abuja or Kogi State.

 

Justice Tsoho also noted that previous related charges against Bello’s associates were already being tried in Abuja and that those cases had not been transferred to Kogi despite similar requests.

 

The Chief Judge emphasized that the jurisdictional issue should be decided by the court rather than through administrative action.

 

Bello has faced ongoing issues with the EFCC regarding the alleged fraud, including being declared wanted for failing to appear in court. During the June 27 hearing, Pinheiro urged the court to discipline Bello’s lawyer for not ensuring his client’s presence.

 

Justice Nwite adjourned the case to July 17 for further ruling.


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