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N3 billion fraud trial of Yahaya Bello’s nephew stalled over lead counsel’s ill health

May 30, 2023

The money laundering trial of Ali Bello and three others was on Tuesday stalled at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over the absence of Ahmed Raji, SAN, the lead counsel for the defendants.

The suit was filed against Mr Bello, a nephew of Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mariam Ediawe, a lawyer, who held Mr Raji’s brief, said she was indisposed.

Ms Ediawe told Justice Obiora Egwuatu shortly after the matter was called for hearing.

Mr Bello was on February 8 arraigned alongside Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege and Iyadai Sadat on an 18-count before Mr Egwuatu.

They were soon admitted to N500 million bail each on February 20 in their N3 billion fraud trial.

Upon resumed hearing, Ms Ediawe informed that the defence team filed an application on May 26.

“My lord, the court record will show that we filed an application dated May 26 seeking an adjournment,” she said.

She said the application sought an adjournment on the ground that the lead counsel for the defendants was very ill.

Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, who appeared for the anti-graft agency, did not oppose the application.

The judge adjourned the matter until July 17 and July 18 for trial continuation.

The defendants were charged with procuring E- Traders International Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N3,081,804,654.00, which sum reasonably ought to have been known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation.

EFCC said the offence contravened 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.

 

(NAN)

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