Alleged N3B Fraud: Kogi Governor’s Nephew Bello, 3 Others Gets N2Billion Bail
The Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday granted bail to the nephew of the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, Ali Bello and three others to a sum of N500 million bail each.
Ali, Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenenge and Iyadai Sadat were arraigned before the court on an 18-count charge bordering on alleged N3 billion.
The defendants were in count one charged with procuring, “E- Traders International Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N3,081,804,654.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18(a), 15(20)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
They were also charged with procuring, “E-Traders International Limited to transfer the aggregate sum of $570,330 to account number no; 426-6644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to with: criminal misappropriation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act”, in count three.
The charges were filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The defendants pleaded not guilty and pleaded with the court to grant them bail on liberal terms.
Counsel to the defendants, Ahmed Raji (SAN), who argued the bail application contended that the charge contained bailable offences and pledged to ensure the availability of the defendants for their trial.
Raji further drew the attention of the court to the fact that the anti-graft agency had earlier granted administrative bail to the defendants, adding that one of them was even permitted to travel to Saudi Arabia.
He further stated that the defendants did not escape from the country, but kept all terms of their administrative bail.
Their counsel, therefore, pleaded with the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the defendants by ordering their release from custody.
The prosecution counsel, M.K. Hussein in response opposed the defendant’s application for bail, insisting that they posed a flight risk.
EFCC told the court that the defendants have the means and capacity to interfere with its proposed witnesses if granted bail.
Rather, the anti-graft agency urged the court to order the accelerated trial of the defendants.
Justice Obiora Egwuata in his ruling held that the charges against the defendants are bailable.
He added the essence of bail was simply to enable defendants charged with an offence to prepare adequately for their trial.
Justice Egwuatu said he was inclined to admit the defendants to bail and ruled that the bail is granted to the defendants in the sum of N500 million each, with two sureties in like sum.
The sureties, the court said, should be residents in Abuja, with identifiable addresses and own landed property worth N500 million within the jurisdiction of the court.
The judge added that the original title documents to the said property must be deposited with the Registrar of the court, as well as evidence of tax payment for three years running from 2020 to 2022.
Besides, the judge held that the defendants are to deposit their international passports with the court and can only travel after due permission from the court.
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