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N80 billion fraud: EFCC Chairman Olukoyede personally invited Yahaya Bello to his office for an interview, and he said that his operators should go to his village

Apr 24, 2024 | International | 0 comments

In December 2023, it was exclusively reported that the EFCC seized the $760,910.84 Bello paid to the American International School, Abuja, as advance school fees for his four children until graduation.

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, revealed that he called former Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello to his office in Abuja for an interview over the alleged N80 billion fraud. However, Bello insisted that EFCC operatives go to his village to interview him.

Olukoyede disclosed that Bello sent his Government House cashier to withdraw money from the government account, took it directly to a Bureau de Change, and sent it to the American International School, Abuja, for the payment of his children’s tuition in advance.

Documents obtained by SaharaReporters showed that Bello, through his nephew, Mr. Ali Bello, entered an agreement with the school to pay tuition for his four children up to graduation in advance to secure their future. The deal was signed and executed on August 23, 2021. A total of $845,852.84 was paid into the school account in varied instalments.

Subsequently, the anti-corruption agency invited the school authorities for interviews related to the funds. SaharaReporters also reported on April 18 that the anti-corruption agency had filed 19 criminal counts against the former governor before a Federal High Court in Abuja, bordering on criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

The charge filed at the Federal High Court 9, with charge FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024, dated March 9, 2024, has Yahaya Adoza Bello as the sole Defendant while the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the complainant.

The EFCC, in the charge papers, accused the ex-governor of converting a total of N80,246,470,089.88, which was funds belonging to the Kogi State government, to himself in February 2016. This offence is contrary to Section 18(a) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended.

Bello was also accused of indirectly using one Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman, and Abdulsalam Hudu to use the sum of N950 million being proceeds of crime for the acquisition of a property at No. 35 Danube Street, Maitama District, Abuja.

On Tuesday, the EFCC boss said that the government house cashier took the billions of naira from the government account to a Bureau de Change to convert to dollars to pay the money to Bello’s children’s school.

Addressing editors during an interactive session in Abuja, Olukoyede said, “A sitting governor; because he knows his ways, he moved money. The particulars of the offense are there. Go and check it. Apply for our processes. “He moved money directly from the government account to Bureau de Change, used to pay the child’s school fees in advance in dollars—$720,000 in advance as long as 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 that I’m being used. I was used by who at this stage of my life? “I assumed office; I didn’t initiate the case. I inherited the case file. I called for the case file and the report, and I said there were issues here. “On my honour, I put a call across to him, which ordinarily I’m not supposed to do, just to honour him as the immediate past governor. I told him, ‘Sir, there are issues. I have seen this case file. Can you just come? Let us clarify these issues.’ “He said, ‘I thank you, my brother.

I know, but I can’t come.’ There was one lady, I think a Senator, whom he learned had surrounded EFCC with over 100 journalists to embarrass him and intimidate him. “I said if that is your fear, I’m going to pass you through my gate, a special man’s gate, you will come to my floor. We will accord you that respect.

I will invite my operatives, and they will interview you in my own office. “What could be more honourable than that? But he said, ‘Thank you, Sir. I appreciate but can’t they come to my village?’ That is what he told me. ‘Can’t they come to my village to interview me?’ “He also sent a message to my driver. Some people say we are hounding him; we are harassing him. Let’s be fair to EFCC.”

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