Alleged N80bn fraud: court refuses to set aside arrest warrant on Yahaya Bello

A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused to revoke the arrest warrant on former Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello over the N80 billion corruption case filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).  

The High Court Judge Emeka Nwite gave the ruling on Friday, May 10, after hearing an application by the EFCC that preliminary objections by the former governor should not be heard until he shows up to defend the 19-count charge brought against him.

The judge ruled in favour of the EFCC, stating that no application would be heard from Bello’s legal team until he appeared in court.

He held that the Commission’s requests were “meritorious and granted as prayed.”

He described Bello’s refusal to appear in court as a deliberate attempt at frustrating the case.

“The defendant cannot sit in the comfort of his home and dictate what he wants the court to do. The defendant clearly has shown no atom of regard and respect for the court, and is taking this court for granted by disobeying and frustrating judicial proceedings,” he said.

Bello had applied through his lawyers, for the court to set aside the warrant issued on Wednesday, April 17 for his arrest.

He argued that the court lacked the jurisdiction to order his arrest in the first instance.




     

     

    However, Nwite stated that a party that disobeys a valid order should not be heard by the court until he honoured the order, as its directive is binding until set aside by a superior ruling.

    Operatives of the EFCC stormed Bello’s Abuja home on Wednesday, April 17, but could not arrest him as the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo, arrived at the scene, forcing the security officials to leave the premises.

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    Following his arraignment, the American International School, Abuja (AISA) refunded $760,000 paid by Bello as advance fees for his children’s studies to the EFCC.

    He has also been declared wanted by the Commission and has failed to appear before court since his arraignment.

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    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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