Ali Bello, a nephew of the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has been remanded in prison custody following his alleged complicity in a N3 billion fraud by the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Trial Justice Obiora Eguwatu ordered the remand of the defendant after he was arraigned on an 18-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Webteam@Ipledge2nigeria gathered that Bello was docked alongside his alleged accomplices- Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege and Iyada Sadat.
The anti-graft agency told the court that one Rashida Bello, who was also involved in the alleged fraud, was at large.
The charge against the defendants bordered on conspiracy, fraud criminal misappropriation and money laundering to the tune of N3,081,804,654.00.
Meanwhile, the defendants, who pleaded not guilty to all the allegations against them, had through their lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji, SAN, prayed the court to release them on bail, pending the hearing and determination of the case against them.
They contended that the charge contained bailable offences.
However, the EFCC, through its lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, urged the court to set a trial date to enable the prosecution to produce its witnesses and tender evidence against the defendants.
In a brief ruling, trial Justice Egwuatu adjourned the case till February 13 to determine the merit in the defendant’s request for bail.
He held that all the defendants should remain in prison custody till their bail application is decided.
Some of the counts in the charge against the defendants read: “That you, Ali Bello, Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege, Iyada Sadat, and Rashida Bello (at large) sometime in June 2020 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court procured E-Traders International Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N3,081,804,654.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to 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”.
“That you, Ali Bello, Abba Adauda, and Rashida Bello (at large) sometime in November 2021 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court procured E-Traders International Limited to transfer the aggregate sum of $570,330 to account number no; 426-6644272 domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful activity to with: criminal misappropriation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act”.
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