‘N80.2bn fraud’: Court adjourns Yayaha Bello’s arraignment to June 27

Yahaya Bello on Kogi teachers Yahaya Bello on Kogi teachers

A federal high court in Abuja has adjourned the arraignment of Yahaya Bello, former Kogi governor, to June 27.

The adjournment followed the absence of Kemi Pinheiro, the lead counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Pinheiro was said to have informed the defence attorneys that he could not appear in court and asked for a new date for the defendant to enter a plea to the 19-count indictment that the anti-graft agency had filed against him.

Consequently, the parties agreed to send junior lawyers to the court to set a new date for the proposed arraignment.


However, when the matter was called, another lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, appeared for the EFCC and expressed his readiness to proceed with the case.

Shocked by the development, Adeola Adedipe, one of the lawyers for Bello, informed the court of the earlier agreement reached by the parties.

Adedipe said he was in court for another matter.


He claimed that Pinheiro told lead defence counsel Abdulwahab Mohammed at his office, through a junior attorney who co-appeared in court with Oyedepo — that it would not be convenient for them to continue with the hearing on Thursday.

“And as senior counsel, it was best agreed by way of convenience for another date,” Adedipe said.

“It was agreed administratively that junior lawyers be sent to court today to formally take a date as agreed by parties for June 27.

“I personally also approached the registry to confirm this information, and it was confirmed to me. That was why I told the court that my appearance today was for another matter.


“What the prosecution has done this morning is an ambush to bring the defendant once again to the realms of social media.

“We came here to pick a date. Of what use will the defendant coming here be? It was the prosecuting counsel that approached us; we did not approach them. We have nothing to hide.”

Responding, Oyedepo said he was unaware of any meeting between Pinheiro and the defence.

However, a senior lawyer, Simon Lough, who came for another matter, stood up to intervene.


Lough said it was unnecessary for senior counsel to be attacking each other in court on a simple matter.

He added that since Adedipe had explained why the defendant was not in court, a new date should be agreed upon.


After listening to the lawyers, Emeka Nwite, the presiding judge, agreed to shift the arraignment to June 27.

The former governor of Kogi is accused of complicity in money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.


The commission had also obtained a warrant of arrest against the former governor on April 17.

Bello had applied to vacate the warrant of arrest but was unsuccessful.



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