EFCC reveals how Yahaya Bello withdrew N77.5m ($720k) from Kogi government’s account to pay his child’s school fee

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede has revealed how the embattled former Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello withdrew $720,000 from the government account to pay for his child’s school fees in advance.

The EFCC chairman Olukoyede disclosed this during a press briefing on Tuesday, April 23.

He said in part: “Am so passionate about things for us to move forward in this country.

“A certain governor, because he knows he is going, moved money directly from the government to Bureau de Change and used it to pay the child’s school fees in advance.

“In dollars. over $720,000 in advance, in anticipation that he was going to leave the government house, in a poor state like Kogi; and you want me to close my eyes to that under the guise to say am been used, used by who at this stage of my life.

“I assumed office here, I didn’t initiate the case, I inherited the case file, I called for the case file, I called for the report, and I said look there are issues here.

“I put a call across to him which ordinarily am not supposed to do, just to honour him as an immediate past governor, but he said ‘Can’t they come to my village?”

The ex-governor is currently facing 19 counts of money laundering at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

In the charges, EFCC accused Mr Bello, his nephew, Ali Bello; Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu (said to still be at large) of conspiring to convert N80 billion (N80, 246,470, 088.88) in February 2016.

EFCC, on 17 April, obtained a court warrant from the Federal High Court in Abuja for Mr Bello’s arrest.

That same day, the commission made futile efforts to execute the arrest warrant at his residence in Abuja. EFCC operatives who arrived at Mr Bello’s residence in Wuse Zone 4, Abuja in their number to carry out his arrest were obstructed by police personnel attached to the house.

The situation lasted about seven hours. It ended only after it was suspected that Mr Bello had sneaked away in the official vehicle of the incumbent Kogi State Governor Usman Ododo, who suddenly emerged on the scene mid-way into the stand-off. Mr Ododo was allowed to drive through the barricade mounted by the EFCC operatives into the house. Mr Bello was believed to be inside Mr Ododo’s car with tinted windows that later drove out of the house and drove off.

Mr Bello refused to show up for his scheduled arraignment before the trial judge, Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja on 18 April, the day after EFCC’s failed efforts to arrest him.

His legal team argued during the stalled proceedings that the court lacked the jurisdiction to conduct the trial on the grounds of a subsisting court order restraining EFCC from arresting and detaining the former governor.

Hours after the proceedings, EFCC declared Mr Bello wanted, calling on members of the public with useful information about him to contact its offices.

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