Alleged N80.2bn Fraud: We don’t know where Yahaya Bello is, lawyer tells court

ABUJA— The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday, declined to set aside the order it issued for the arrest for the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite, accused the erstwhile governor of attempting to truncate the criminal case the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him.

According to the court, the former governor, by briefing lawyers to challenge its jurisdiction to try him, while he remained in hiding, showed that he “has no atom of respect and regard for the court.”

The development came on a day the lead counsel to the defendant, Mr. Abdulwahab Mohammed, SAN, begged the court to give him four weeks to search for his client whose whereabouts he said remained unknown.

Mohammed, SAN, told the court that Bello had on the day he received a copy of the 19-count charge pending against him, expressed deep fear for his safety.

Bello, who piloted affairs of Kogi state for eight years, is facing a charge bordering on his alleged complicity in money laundering, breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of about N80.2billion.

Even though he failed to appear for his arraignment, he briefed lawyers to file an application to set aside the arrest warrant that was issued against him on April 17, as well as to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to try him.

While declining to accede to both requests on Friday, Justice Nwite, said it was wrong for the defendant to treat a subsisting court order with disdain.

He held that Bello’s decision to file the applications “is clearly showing his intention not to present himself for trial,” saying he ought to have made himself available upon becoming aware of the order of arrest that was issued against him.

“The law is settled that he who disobeyed an order of court and shown disrespect to the court cannot expect a favourable discretion of the court.Yahaya Bello: Court adjourns to June 13 for arraignment

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