EFCC Arraigns Yahaya Bello’s Wife, Nephew For Money Laundering

Rashida Bello, the wife of Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has been charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with alleged N3bn fraud.

She was arraigned alongside her husband’s nephew, Ali Bello, and three other persons on an 18-count charge of money laundering and criminal misappropriation of funds to the tune N3,081,804,654 belonging to the Kogi State government.

This was disclosed in a statement by the EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, in Abuja,
Mrs. Bello is, however, said to be at large.

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The charge reads in part,

“That you, Ali Bello, Abba Adaudu, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege, Iyada Sadat, 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 (Three Billion, Eighty One Million, Eight Hundred and Four Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty Four Naira) 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.”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following their plea, the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked the court to pick a date for the commencement of the trial.

The defence counsel, Ahmed Raji, asked the court to grant his clients’ bail in the most liberal terms.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu ordered that the defendants be remanded in the correctional centre pending the ruling on their bail application and adjourned the matter till February 13.

This is not the first time the Kogi State government will be in the spotlight with the EFCC.

The two parties were involved in a hugely-publicized spat in 2022 over the arraignment of the governor’s nephew for alleged N10 billion fraud.

The government in a statement issued at the time by the state’s Commissioner for Information, and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, accused the commission of a witch-hunt and bias against the Bello administration in the state.

The commissioner insisted that EFCC was determined to embarrass the government in order to save its face after the investigation into a N20 billion bailout found in Sterling Bank in 2021 met a brick wall.

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