July 20, 2024

Yahaya Bello urges the court, “Transfer my case to Kogi.”

Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the former governor of Kogi State, is accused of 19 counts. In a letter to Justice John Tsoho, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, he begged to be permitted to stand trial in Kogi.
The former governor, Bello, claimed in a letter written by his legal team under the direction of Mr. Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) accusations against him could only be heard by the high court’s Lokoja Division.

Bello did not show up to submit a plea to the charge against him at the matter’s reopened hearing on Thursday at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

But Mr. Adeola Adedipe, SAN, the attorney who made the announcement for him, called trial Justice Emeka Nwite’s attention to the letter his client had written to the CJ.

“My lord, after the proceedings of the last adjourned date, I went back and gave a report of what happened in court to our team,” Adedipe, SAN, said in his address to the court following the matter’s calling.

“On the other hand, I have learned that the defendant wrote a letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, requesting a transfer of this case administratively to the Federal High Court’s Lokoja Judicial Division. We believe that this division has the territorial jurisdiction to handle this case.
“The Chief Judge’s Chambers received that letter, and on June 13, the office of the Honorable CJ wrote to the prosecution team via Mr. Iseoluwa Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, informing them that administrative procedures had been initiated and directing them to respond to the request for transfer of the case.

“My lord, as of this morning, I do not know if the prosecution team has responded in accordance with the CJ’s direction.
Additionally, we have not received a decision from the CJ about this request.
Additionally, I know that this court has received formal notice of the CJ’s administrative directive.
“We have submitted an affidavit with two attachments that contain references to the information I just underlined.

“The court is my main priority. Adedipe, SAN, continued, “At this time, I am not requesting anything from the court; I am merely presenting the facts as they were.
In response to the defendant’s promise on June 13 to guarantee his presence in court for arraignment, the EFCC, represented by Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, sought the court to order the defense attorney to provide an explanation for the defendant’s nonattendance.
“The story of the defense lawyer as dilatory and a further attempt to treat this court with scorn,” he begged the judge to dismiss.

The senior attorneys for the defendant gave an undertaking, which the EFCC counsel claimed was not fulfilled in the letter to the CJ.
Pinhero, SAN, went on to say that actions on cases that are still before the judge continue even in cases where a petition against the judge is sent to the National Judicial Council, NJC.
As a result, he requested that the court invite the two senior attorneys working for the previous governor to provide justification for not being charged with contempt of court.
Bello, who oversaw Kogi state’s operations for eight years, is accused of participating in money laundering, breaching trust, and embezzling N80.2 billion worth of public cash.

The former governor was accused by the EFCC of participating in money laundering along with his nephew Ali Bello and two other people, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu.
The former governor of Kogi, despite having previously neglected to show up for his arraignment, hired attorneys to prepare a motion to vacate an arrest warrant that was issued for him on April 17 and to contest the court’s jurisdiction to trial him.
The former governor insisted that when the EFCC filed the allegation against him and requested the issuance of a bench warrant for his arrest, it was acting in violation of an existing ruling from a Kogi State High Court.

The defendant was given the option to voluntarily appear for arraignment even though the court, in a ruling on May 10, declined to revoke the arrest warrant.

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